Endangered Hasankeyf

Kurdish baby on the bus to Hasankeyf

Having succeeded in his mission to drop off the Vitimen B1 in Amed, Yusuf is also keen to see more of Kurdistan before going back to London. We decide to take a bus to the historic village of Hasankeyf on the Tigris river, to see it before it dissapears forever due to the planned Ilisu Dam project. Travelling with someone who can easily communicate with the locals is a welcome break…needless to say, things go a lot smoother when there’s no language barier.

The village is under immanent threat of being submerged from the planned dam (up to the height of the top of the minnaret). The people living here seem strangely complacent and calm at the prospect of their native home being lost  forever – whenever it’s mentioned to them, there’s no trace of sadness or anger in their faces. Maybe it’s because it was previously an Armenian settlement (the Kurds only came here in the last century) and they’ll be well compensated with new homes, or may be  it’s becuase they think the project will never go ahead – the project has been severely delayed due to a suspension on funding from European contractors (but Chinese ones have stepped in). Whatever the their opinion, it would be criminal to distroy such a place of historical importance just to generate a bit of electricity for the Turkish state. Many suspect the real reason for the dam is to cut off supply routes of PKK guerilla units, which would be in keeping with the insane nature of their war.

With nowhere to sleep for the night, we are offered a cave dwelling by the owner of the cafe we spent much of the day relaxing in. Compared to outside, it’s quite warm and comfortable. Content with being further treated to Kurdish hospitality and the novelty of sleeping in a cave in an ancient village, we get some much-needed rest before hitting the road again the next day.

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6 comments

  1. freetoramble

    I doubt it but the thought of living in modern homes compared to the old one they’re in now must appeal to them. Also, I forgot to mention that most people there, while Kurds, don’t like the PKK – they vote for the current Party in power…the islamists….so they think Erdogan will look after them.

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  2. Axel

    Hi
    This journey around the world is inspiring to me; it gives me / us eyes on what newspapers rarely mention in their columns. There are some interesting references of what people do or experience. It gives a sip of the real world…
    … but here lies the frustration. Excuse me if it sounds blunt, it is not my intention, but it feels like you run away once you touch something essential. It feels like there is the beginning of a story in each place but is wiped by another departure like the tide erasing the drawing in the sand.
    I should have asked you while you were here, but this question comes to me now with, I insist, a pure and simple curiosity: what are you looking for during this trip?

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  3. freetoramble

    Hi Axel,
    It’s a good quetion. I should’ve provided some sort of answer to that aleady in the ‘About’ section of the blog (I will do soon).
    You’re right…these experiences are fleeting…that’s the spontaneous nature of my trip. I’m traveling on a budget and like the title of the blog says, I’m drifting. It can be a bit frustrating for me too…just skimming the surface of places and being contstantly on the move. This blog has become a hobby for me and gives me some purpose on the road. I’m not entirely sure what it will lead to but I feel glad that I’m at least documenting what I’ve seen and experienced. The main reason for the trip is to see the world and grow in stregnth and hopefully gain some insight. I don’t know if it comes accross in the blog, but there have been difficult times as well as good. It’s challenging but that’s part of it. I’m lucky to be able to make this trip and although it can be exhausting and lonely a lot of the time, I feel the good bits make up for it.
    Diyarbakir, for example, is somewhere I would like to return to and live for a while (and perhaps will after this trip) and gain a deeper experience, but I feel I want to keep traveling while I can for now.

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