Swiss export officials delay Turkish dam

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The completion of the Ilisu dam on the Tigris River may flood dozens of towns and destroy archaeological treasures.

ZURICH – Austrian, German and Swiss export officials said Tuesday that companies from those countries must halt work on a controversial Turkish dam that would flood dozens of towns.

The government export insurer offices said they have instructed national companies involved in the Ilisu dam to postpone their contracts because the project is not fulfilling World Bank requirements in the areas of environment, relocation and protection of cultural heritage.

The agencies said they would stop offering export risk insurance for 180 days and said that would halt work on the hydroelectric project until it satisfies World Bank standards.

The dam on the Tigris River near the Syrian border will be one of the largest in Turkey and is scheduled to be completed by 2013.

Opponents of the project say it will flood dozens of towns in a mainly Kurdish area and destroy archaeological treasures including the medieval fortress city of Hasankeyf.

[AP / Expatica]

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