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New 'Disneyland' formula for Hasankeyf proposed

BATMAN - Radikal | 12/10/2009 12:00:00 AM |

The government has proposed to build a new district center for Hasankeyf that will feature replicas of its historical artifacts and buildings.

The government has proposed to build a new district center for Hasankeyf that will feature replicas of its historical artifacts and buildings.

The ancient settlement of Hasankeyf in southeastern Turkey faces the threat of being submerged under the water held by the Ilısu Dam if its construction is completed.

“The new Hasankeyf will be on the side of the lake after the dam is built. There will be the historical castle across from it with its museum inside,” Osman Varol, deputy governor of Batman, said about the construction of the district center, which is set to begin next month.

“The remaking of the symbolic artifacts of Hasankeyf is [not] in question,” he said. “Exact replicas will be made and displayed at various places in the town.”

According to Varol, the construction will be handled by Turkey’s Housing Development Administration, or TOKİ, and the new Hasankeyf will be 465 hectares wide, or 13 times bigger than the original. The civil-service buildings will be constructed first, followed by seven different types of homes that will follow the local architectural style and be built with rocks from the region.

There are 596 homes in Hasankeyf now and there will be 1,000 in the new town, Varol said.

Varol, who was district governor of Hasankeyf for three years, said locals are not against the building of the dam: “Everybody would like to live by higher standards. Not much can be done by visiting and staying at Hasankeyf for one day. You need to live there.”

The Ilısu Dam was designed 57 years ago and its foundations were laid three years ago, but the international loan for the project was canceled due to “lack of necessary precautions regarding the environment, history and the local people.”

The dam is one of the key parts of the Southeastern Anatolia Project, or GAP, one of the biggest endeavors in the Turkish Republic’s history.

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