Following a series of events including dismissals, an armed assault, injuries and arson, workers have left the Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant construction site, thus bringing work to a halt. These events show how dangerous, risky and destructive a project we are confronting.
On 19 June (Friday), 5 workers were dismissed from work by the Malamira company. Malamira (based in Ankara with roots in Diyarbakır) employs most of the workers at the construction site. It replaced other companies at the Ilısu Project when construction resumed in December 2014 at Ilısu village in Dargeçit district in Mardin province. While meeting with Mala Mira Company managers on behalf of the dismissed workers and to present demands for unionization, workers were fired upon by the bodyguards of the employers and the project director. The injured workers (Ali İnan, 27; Ömer Ekinci, 26; and Ömer Erol, 19) are still receiving treatment hospitals.
In response to this, other workers and relatives of the injured, some of whom live in villages close to the Ilısu Dam, proceeded to the scene. Protesters set fire to offices, heavy equipment and vehicles belonging to the company. As the protest grew, a large number of armored vehicles, special forces, riot police, water cannons and soldiers were dispatched to the Ilısu Dam construction site.
Because of these events, approximately 1000 workers did not work and returned to their places of residence with their luggage. Thus construction work at the Ilisu Dam has been halted.
In and of itself, the halting of the Ilisu Project, which represents a huge social, cultural and ecological catastrophe for a greater region, is a positive development. However, the events witnessed over the past three days show how problematic the Ilisu Project is for regional peace and tranquility.
The Ilisu Project was halted in the summer of 2014 following the intervention of PKK (HPG) guerrillas, and construction began again with the engagement of Malamira company in December 2014.
Malamira’s participation in the Ilısu consortium despite the ongoing high potential for local conflicts, shows that in pursuit of profit this company did not take into consideration the social, ecological and political risks of the project.
Not only those who fired weapons, but the company managers be held accountable for this armed attack.
The Ilisu Project, which is a symbol of unfairness, injustice and social-cultural destruction, must halted as soon as possible and debated thoroughly.
Note: You may use attached photographs by acknowledging that they were taken by DIHA (Tigris News Agency; www.diclenews.com).
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Photo: Ilisu Dam construction site. Source: ECA-Watch.