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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Tarkan Nature Campaign Update

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

Tarkan by the Tigris River
Tarkan by the Tigris River
As Turkish left-wing newspaper Radikal reported yesterday that foreign investors have officially removed their backing to the building of a controversial dam in Turkey after the passing of a 6 July deadline, environmentalists today celebrate what is seen as a setback for the Turkish government's energy and regeneration plans for its southeastern region.

Radikal quoted Güven Eken, chairman of the Doğa Derneği (Nature Society) as saying, "Europe has heard Tarkan's and the voices of nearly 100,000 people. Our campaign will continue until plans to build the dam are stopped."

Tarkan on NTV

Also appearing on Turkish news channel NTV yesterday, Eken and Tarkan once more renewed the campaign's pledge to stop the dam from being built, irrespective of Turkish Forestry and Environment Minister Veysel Eroğlu's claims that this was a political ploy by Germany against Turkey.

Tarkan, taking part in the interview via telephone, explained that after offering various alternatives to the dam, they had realised they were not being taking seriously.

"That's why we are continuing our struggle to save [the ancient city]. What seems strange to me is that those who come to power don't see they have a real obligation to protect those cultural treasures, natural spaces in the country they've been entrusted to govern. That should be their real duty."

The artist explained that those in power, rather than getting confrontational with protesters, should take the chance to listen to them, and went on to say that the region was a special place which deserved to be saved, and that was their aim.

Putting emphasis on the fact they were opposing the dam based on scientific research, "To hear people say that they'll build the dam against all odds seems odd to me really. We are trying to protect the lands in our country. That's why such speeches don't mean much to me," he said.

New Digs Further Age Ancient Site

Meanwhile, CNNTurk reports that recent archaeological excavations in the ancient city set to be flooded by the dam is now believed to preliminary date the region back 15,000 years - much older than recently thought.

Proclaiming it as an amazing find, head of the excavation Prof. Dr. Abdüsselam Uluçam - who featured in a BBC news report about the site and has also criticised celebrity activism - reportedly said that although it was still too early to say, during a dig by the Tigris River they had "found signs of a civilisation possibly dating back 14-15,000 years".

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