UK activists block the road outside London’s Turkish embassy in solidarity with Hasankeyf

An action was held outside the Turkish Embassy in London as part of the days of action against the Ilisu dam.

UK news website The Canary wrote:

Around 50 people joined a protest to call on Turkey not to destroy hundreds of majority-Kurdish villages within its borders. The government plans to fill a controversial dam on 10 June, displacing around 78,000 people. The Ilısu dam will flood the ancient town of Hasankeyf. At 12,000 years old, this area of historical Mesopotamia is known as ‘the cradle of civilisation’.

The Kurdistan Solidarity Network told The Canary:

Today we held a demonstration in front of the Turkish embassy, blocking the road and stopping traffic to bring attention to the struggle of the people of Hasankeyf against the Ilısu dam. We represented a range of groups who challenge the right of the Turkish state to enforce a project which has devastating ecological, historical and social consequences.

Armed police looked on as protesters set off smoke flares in the Kurdish colours of yellow, red and green. Protesters also played Kurdish music over a sound system.

Police violence

Several activists told The Canary that the police used unnecessary force. Canary journalist Emily Apple, meanwhile, attended the demonstration as an activist. The police reportedly assaulted her, and she had to go to hospital. She said:

Protesters blocked the road outside the embassy. One person was violently arrested. In the process, I was threatened with CS gas and thrown on the ground, sustaining ligament damage to my knee. This was a disproportionate and aggressive response from police officers, who seemed intent on aggravating the situation.

Before the action Kurdistan Solidarity Network wrote:

Hasankeyf, an ancient town that sits in the Tigris River Valley, has seen at least 20 civilisations rise and fall since the birth of civilisation. One of the oldest continuously inhabited human settlements in the world, today it seems the current residents will be its last.

The Turkish State GAP hydroelectric project, and the completion of the Ilisu Dam in particular, mean the dam reservoir is due to be filled in the next days, and Hasankeyf will be under water, along with 199 other towns and villages.

Hasankeyf, an ancient town that sits in the Tigris River Valley, has seen at least 20 civilisations rise and fall since the birth of civilisation. One of the oldest continuously inhabited human settlements in the world, today it seems the current residents will be its last.

The Turkish State GAP hydroelectric project, and the completion of the Ilisu Dam in particular, mean the dam reservoir is due to be filled in the next days, and Hasankeyf will be under water, along with 199 other towns and villages.

 

More background on the days of action can be found here.

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