Hasankeyf not submitted to UNESCO
BATMAN – Doğan News AgencyMechtild Rössler, the director of both UNESCO’s Division for Heritage and World Heritage Center, has declared Turkey did not apply for the inclusion of the ancient city of Hasankeyf on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
However, Hasakeyf Mayor Abdulvahap Kusen said Hasankeyf had been submitted to UNESCO years ago by International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Turkish National Committee Vice President Zeynep Ahunbay.
The nearly 10,000-year-old ancient city of Hasankeyf in the southeastern province of Batman was declared a natural conversation area in 1981.
It has been predicted that some 80 percent of Hasankeyf could be flooded due to the controversial Ilısu Dam project, while the Turkish parliament recently made a decision that the town would be emptied.
People have organized protests to draw the world’s attention to the ancient site and made calls for it to be included on the UNESCO list.
Speaking to German Deutsche Welle, Rössler said Turkey has not officially applied to UNESCO for Hasankeyf, even for its inclusion to the temporary list.
He said as there had been no official application, no examinations had been so far made and they could not say if Hasankeyf met UNESCO’s criteria.
An activist from the Association to Survive Hasankeyf, Veysi Ayhan, said Hasankeyf became endangered after the decision was made to construct the dam, adding that infrastructure and construction works had been continuing at the ancient site for four years.
“Nearly 10 days ago, the Hasankeyf Municipality and District Governor’s Office received a letter to empty Hasankeyf,” he said. “We will continue fighting even after the dam starts functioning. We will try to prevent it using our legal rights. There are similar examples in Spain, too.”