Save the Marshes and the Tigris River

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Karzan Fadhil. July 14, 2012. Save the Marshes and the Tigris River was an inaugural conference held by the Civil Development Organization (CDO) to raise awareness of local residents about the dams that have been constructed on the borders between Iran-Iraq and Turkey-Iraq. The conference was held after a long time of exceeding the international laws of natural resources rights and water laws by Turkey. Many non-governmental organizations (NGO)s attended the conference and showed their concern about the dams, especially the Iliso dam, which is a project being built by Turkey on the Tigris River without any convention signed by Iraq or Turkey. If the Ilisu Dam is constructed, it will inundate the town of Hasankeyf, which is an ancient town rich with its history, including its villages and heritage that have existed for centuries.

Now, due to the Ilisu Dam the entire region is at risk of being submerged with the completion of the project. One thing that is worth mentioning is that European countries have stopped reinforcing the project since 2008 due to the disadvantages and the adverse effects of the project on Iraq and the villages where the dam is built, but some of the Middle Eastern countries that Iraq calls them “fraternal countries” or “neighboring countries” underpin the project of the Iliso dam and show support for it.

During the Conference, Dr. Azam Alwash, the director of Nature Iraq, gave a presentation about the dams and the devastating effects they have on Iraq and the nearby regions. He stated that if the Iliso dam is finished, farmers in Iraq will starve and most of the agricultural lands in Iraq will dry up. Subsequently, the dams that have been constructed by Iran on the rivers that flow down the mountains in Iraq were discussed. Furthermore, Iran has constructed nine dams on the rivers flowing through the regions of Iraq, so since Iran built the dams, the water of the rivers has decreased dramatically, and most of the rivers in Iraq have been dry, including the agricultural lands nearby the rivers. Consequently, at the end of the conference, the members of the NGOs decided to take all the necessary actions and preliminary steps to induce the international organizations to stop Turkey from building the Iliso dam.

The Ilisu Dam


The Ilisu Dam is a project planned to be constructed on the Tigris River in Turkey. It’s expected to be completed by 2015. Since its inception, there have been many controversies about this project internationally; constructing the Ilisu Dam has reverberated among people adversely due to its disadvantages and its adverse effects on nature, environment, and preserving heritage. If the Ilisu Dam is finished, it will inundate the town of Hasankeyf, which is an ancient town rich with its history, including its villages and heritage that have existed for centuries. Now, due to the Ilisu Dam the entire region is at risk of being submerged with the completion of the project. Since 2008, the project hasn’t been reinforced internationally due to its devastating results and effects on the region by the end of the completion of the project. In addition, people in the region where the dam is built are obliged to evacuate their places and leave for other cities.

Consequently, environmental and human rights groups around the world have sought to stop the process of building the dam, and there has been much pressure put to halt the project, but the Turkish government persists in completing the dam. Nowadays, there have been many divergent campaigns to urge the international organizations to be involved in standing against constructing the Ilisu Dam, and many people have signed against constructing the dam because it is a huge threat to both people who live in those areas where the dam is constructed and the ancient history and heritage that have existed for centuries.

Click on the link to learn about a change.org petition to halt its construction: Save World Heritage on the Tigris River in Mesopotamia