Germany pulls the plug on Turkish dam loan

8th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Germany, as well as Switzerland and Austria, decided against the loan because Ankara had failed to meet certain requirements regarding the environment, cultural heritage and resettlement.

Berlin -- Germany, as well as Switzerland and Austria, said Tuesday they were pulling the plug on support for a major dam in Turkey because of concerns it will destroy ancient sites and displace thousands of people.

The three countries' export guarantee agencies said that Ankara had failed to meet a number of conditions they had set for awarding 1.2 billion euros (1.7 billion dollars) worth of loan guarantees frozen in December.

"Despite some significant improvements, the requirements ... in the areas of the environment, cultural heritage and resettlement could not be fulfilled within the contractually stipulated timeframe," a joint statement said.

The statement added: "As a result, there is no longer a basis for continuing the project with export risk insurance from the three countries, thus ending the export risk insurance cover."

The project came under intense criticism because it would mean that parts of Hasankeyf, a small and poor town on the banks of the Tigris that was once a mighty city in Mesopotamia in ancient times, would disappear under the water.

Critics say the dam would have destroyed Hasankeyf's unique heritage that includes Assyrian, Roman and Ottoman monuments, and displace an estimate 50,000 people.

Ankara said the project, with its 1,200-megawatt power plant, would generate 3.8 billion kWh of electricity annually, contribute 300 million euros to the economy, create thousands of jobs and irrigate vast areas of farmland.


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