Protest against relocation of the Zeynel Bey Tomb in Hasankeyf dam site

Activists are protesting against the relocation of the Zeynel Bey Tomb in the historical city of Hasankeyf which is under the threat of the Ilisu Dam on the Tigris River

On June 4, 2016, several dozen activists have protested against the relocation of the Zeynel Bey Tomb in the historical city of Hasankeyf which is under the threat of the Ilisu Dam on the Tigris River. The Zeynel Bey Tomb is planned to be the first monument for the relocation to the “Hasankeyf Archaeological Parc” two km in the north adjacent to New-Hasankeyf.

The Zeynel Bey Tomb is one of the most visual symbols of the 12.000 year settlement Hasankeyf where more than 20 eastern and western cultures have left their traces. Constructed 650 years ago as the first example of a new Iranian/Timur architectural style with a specific form or mosaics west of the Zagros mountains it is an extraordinary cultural heritage.

The Turkish government has given the tender in an illegal way to the Turkish company Er-Bu Insaat which has restored the Mostar bridge. It claims to relocate the tomb with a rail system which has not been implemented in any place of the world. Er-Bu Insaat will also fail because the tombs mortar/stability is in a poor condition. Apart of that the relocation would make no sense if the historical monument is in a very different environment.

In general the claimed relocation of several dozen monuments from Hasankeyf shall given the impression that cultural heritage is rescued which is an intentional deception. It should legitimize the flooding of Hasankeyf and large parts of the Tigris Valley which is unique in the world and which meets 9 of 10 Unesco World Heritage criteria. The protestors marched from the gate of the closed castle rock to the Zeynel Bey Tomb where they did a press statement in which they stated that they will continue to struggle against the plans to do the relocation in November 2016. Furthermore the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive announced to be present in Istanbul with other groups when in July the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO will meet in order to point out the ongoing destruction of cultural and natural heritage in Turkey.

Pillars under harm

Since last year the Turkish government has started to cover completely the great pillars of the historical bridge in Hasankeyf with stones. The government claims that with an impermeable mortar the bridge could be conserved for more than a century when it is under water. The new stones are a serious harm of the pillars. Actually the government claimed to relocate the pillars. Now they accept that its impossible and has selected another tool of destruction.

At the website is also the final declaration of the “Hasankeyf and Tigris Valley Symposium” organized on May 7 and 8, 2016, in Batman and
Hasankeyf. It brought together experts, activists and affected people in order to discuss the value of the heritage site and to discuss the means of the struggle.

Featured image: Ercan Ayboga/ Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive


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