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Ilisu construction to start in April

ISTANBUL - Bloomberg | 2/16/2010 12:00:00 AM |

Turkey will start construction on the Ilisu hydroelectric dam in April, Austrian public broadcaster ORF reported, citing a report in daily Sabah.

Turkey will start construction on the Ilisu hydroelectric dam in April, Austrian public broadcaster ORF reported, citing a report in daily Sabah.

Sabah cited a representative of the Turkish hydraulic engineering agency, ORF said.

The project has come under intense criticism because it means parts of Hasankeyf, a small and poor town on the banks of the Tigris that was an important center in Mesopotamian times, will disappear under water.

Turkey has said it plans to relocate the artifacts and monuments from Hasankeyf, the only area in the region dating from the Middle Ages.

Austria, Germany and Switzerland canceled 450 million euros of state export-loan guarantees in July because Turkey’s plans to resettle towns and safeguard artifacts and the local environment were deemed insufficient.

The Ilısu Dam project dates back 52 years but its construction started only three years ago under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. When construction is completed, the dam will be one of the biggest in Turkey.

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