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The BBC's Chris Morris:
"She is worried that her community will be split in two"
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Monday, 10 July, 2000, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
Refuge for Turkey's dam victims
Water will soon cover Halfeti village (foreground)
Water will soon cover Halfeti village
By Chris Morris in Halfeti, south-east Turkey

Residents of the south eastern Turkish town of Ilusu, who may be forced to resettle if a controversial dam project goes ahead, are closely watching the experience of a similar project in the village of Halfeti.

The Turkish authorities are due to produce a resettlement plan soon to show how they will help thousands of people in Ilisu whose homes will disappear under the flood waters.

In Halfeti, with the waters rising behind them, residents have been knocking down their houses to save what they can because soon half of their ancient village will disappear.

Those that have to leave are being resettled on the arid plains above the river valley.


Zeliha Buyugif has lived in Halfeti for nearly 40 years. She would like to stay put, but this is impossible.

The water levels are already rising as the people of Halfeti begin to relocate
The water levels are already rising as the people of Halfeti begin to relocate
She is worried that her community will be split in two, and it will not survive.

Water has always been the life-blood of the village. The river was the reason people settled in Halfeti in the first place.

The state is spending tens of millions of dollars on resettlement and retraining in this region.

However, locals still complain that there has not been enough compensation and that they have not been properly consulted.

New Halfeti: A soulless collection of coloured boxes
New Halfeti: No place for the young?

The new Halfeti consists of a collection of coloured boxes on a nearby hill.

It is early days, but the village appears to be soulless.

Some of the newcomers are determined to make the best of it and are hoping that things will improve.

Nowhere to go

Halfeti's elderly fok have nowhere to go
Halfeti's elderly folk have nowhere to go

Many of the elderly have nowhere else to go.

However, Halise Gokcek, a resident is concerned that the young want to leave.

"We can stay but this place isn't suitable for the younger generation," she says.

The state is rejecting allegations that old Kurdish communities are being deliberately broken up, to allow central government to gain better control over an unruly region.

We can stay but this place isn't suitable for the younger generation

Halise Gokcek, Halfeti resident

Local people are still suspicious about the real motives but there is little that they can do.

State institutions are promising employment, reforestation and a new start.

Ibrahim Tugrul of the South-East Anatolia Project says that they have tried to be responsive to the needs of the people.

"We play a catalysing role," Mr Tugrul explains.

"We make many committee meetings in this area. All of the plans were made with the participation of people."

For better or worse the Halfeti region is changing, and changing forever.

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See also:

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Turkish dam controversy
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