Protest in Çemişgezek district of Dersim -
A march has taken place in the Çemişgezek district of Dersim against the construction of a dam and hydroelectric complex that will affect historic sites and flora and fauna in the area. Following the decision of the Government to implement compulsory purchase of land in the area local people organised a protest march.
The protesters pointed out that the dam over the Tağar river that runs through the district centre, which has a population of around 3,000, will damage the 200 year-old bridge and affect ancient caves used by the Urartu civilisation.
Shop keepers joined the protest by keeping their shutters down as the protesters made their way to the town square accompanied by pipe and drum.
The spokesperson for the Tağar river solidarity platform, Hakan Gökalp, spoke at a rally in the square, saying: "The Tağar is our life source and has flowed freely for thousands of years. Now they want to divert it into pipes and tunnels and take it elsewhere for the sake of electricity. The Tağar valley will be destroyed and the old bridge will no longer have water flowing under it. The natural balance will be upset. Çemişgezek is the only place in the world where chamois and human beings co-exist."
Gökalp stressed that no one in the district wanted the dam, adding: "Whether from the AKP, CHP, MHP, BDP, whether Alevi, Sunni, Kurdish or Turkish, everyone is opposed to the hydroelectric project."