Skip to main content

PKK, Turkey squabble over same dam issue

Turkey's extensive dam construction projects are threatened with attacks by the Kurdistan Workers Party, which sees the projects as destructive and only serving military objectives.
The Tigris river, with the minaret of a 14th century mosque on the right, flows through the town of Hasankeyf in southeastern Turkey, August 14, 2009. Western export credit insurers quit Turkey's planned Ilisu dam on the Tigris River on July because it failed World Bank environmental and heritage standards, but Ankara said the 1.2 billion euro project would go ahead. Turkey said it was determined to go ahead with the dam project in its impoverished southeast, a region long scarred by unemployment and Kurdis
Read in 

The governor of Diyarbakir issued a statement July 15 about an improvised explosive device attack against a military convoy on the road to the Silvan Dam, northeast of the city. The military vehicles sustained light damage, it read. At least 14 such statements have come from the governor’s office in the past three months.

Construction began on the Silvan Dam in 2011; it is expected to be the second-largest irrigation dam in the country after the Ataturk Dam. But the dam that will irrigate 245,300 hectares (606,149 acres) of agricultural land is in the news not because of its benefits but because of the frequent attacks on it. The governor’s statement also said “some groups are engaged in totally baseless, negative propaganda by labeling the works undertaken to improve the economic welfare of our people as works for military purposes,” alluding to the linkage between the Kurdish question and the dams.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.