Chapter 7: The Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP): the loss of cultural heritage
Turkey has planned the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP), a series of hydroelectric and other dams, since the 1960s. The dams are situated on both the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, in the east of the country. The plan is to build tens of dams at a cost of $32 billion. However, the Kurds, who live in Anatolia, have suggested that Turkey is building this complex in order to move them away from their ancestral homes. During the pre-construction studies for the Birecik and Illisu Dams, relics and ruins that are thousands of years old were discovered adjacent to the cities of Zeguma and Hasankeyf. The relics lie in the way of the pathway of the reservoirs’ swelling columns of water. This potentially ruinous situation has brought considerable domestic and international awareness to the two sites. The swift and harsh reactions of the international community to this threat has caused the Turkish government to back off slightly and take some action to protect Zaguma’s cultural treasures.
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