Switzerland stops Turkish dam loan

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Switzerland, Germany and Austria will not fund the dam in Turkey because it will destroy ancient sites.

Berlin – Switzerland, Germany and Austria said Tuesday they were ending 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 failed to meet a number of conditions they had set for awarding EUR 1.2 billion (CHF 1.8 billion, USD 1.7 billion) 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 was criticised because it would flood parts of Hasankeyf, an ancient town on the Tigris RIver.

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 EUR 300 million to the economy, create thousands of jobs and irrigate large areas of farmland.


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