Germany may cancel funding for Turkish dam

23rd December 2008, Comments 0 comments

Environmental and civil society groups have sharply criticized the dam because it would lead to the displacement of some 50,000 people and flood historical ruins.

Berlin -- Germany has suspended financing for the construction of the Ilisu dam in Turkey due to environmental and social concerns over the massive project, the government said Monday.

"The contracts must be annulled if the protection of human beings, the environment and culture in the region is not ensured," a spokesman for the overseas development ministry told reporters.

Germany, Austria and Switzerland had approved guarantees to companies from their own countries that were investing in the 1.2-billion-euro (1.7-billion-dollar) project near the Iraq border.

Environmental and civil society groups have sharply criticized the dam because it would lead to the displacement of some 50,000 people and flood historical ruins from ancient Mesopotamia in the Kurdish city of Hasankeyf.

The project, which has been planned since the 1980s, aims to harness the energy of the Tigris river.

The spokesman said Berlin had already suspended export credit guarantees because Ankara had failed to address environmental problems linked to the dam's construction by December 12, a deadline set in October.

Turkey now has another 180 days to address the issues or face Germany's permanent withdrawal from the project.

A state secretary at the development ministry, Erich Stather, told Monday's Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper that the dam now had "no longer had any chance" of receiving German funding.

He said Germany felt it had been "led around" by Turkey and that the only reasonable response was to cut the financing. "We won't let them play games with us anymore," Stather said.

AFP/Expatica

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