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.