An ancient town of Hasankeyf in Turkey is soon going to be flooded after the completion of damn by the government despite local and international objections. The town and district located along the river Tigris in the Batman province in the southeastern region of Turkey will soon submerge due to the completion of the Ilisu dam. The 12,000-year-old town will drown underwater in just a few months of time.
The town is one of the oldest known, continuously inhabited settlements in the world with a four-arched bridge, two majestic stone piers, caves carved out of the banks like a honeycomb by settlers thousands of years ago. The town is arranged like a living museum with remnants of past settlers - Neolithic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman.
More than 70,000 people will be displaced after the dam opens. The Turkish government has spent millions to relocate the people and the artefacts from Hasankeyf to New Hasankeyf. The government has already moved a 15th-century tomb, a bathhouse, and a mosque. One of the best-known attractions of the town, a Roman citadel will be visible from the waterline. But other iconic structures like the remains of the 12th century Tigris bridge will submerge underwater.
Apart from providing energy for the country, the dam will also give a geopolitical advantage to Turkey. Ankara will have control over the flow of water in Tigris and Euphrates rivers that flow into Iraq and Syria.
The dam built in a Kurdish majority area has also added to the complaint by ethnic Kurds that they are being marginalised by the state. Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without a country. Kurds are spread in parts of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq and are demanding independence to form their own country - Kurdistan. The dam can also ignite a new protest in the Kurdish majority area in Turkey, which can lead to greater conflict in the region.