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Hotamis Marshes, Turkey


Hotamis Marshes have completely dried out as a result of State Hydraulic Works interventions to the water regime through discharge and irrigation channels since mid 1990s. Previously spreading to some 17.400ha the marshes dropped to 8.000ha in 1990 and dried out in early 2000s. The main threat in the area currently is the storage dam intended to be built at the site as an extension of the State Hydraulic Works Blue Tunnel Project. Even though many parties and especially State Hydraulic Works claim that they will save the marshes with the storage dam, the site will completely lose its natural feature if the project is realised leaving no chance for restoration. As a result of the deal signed on 03.11.2011 between YONTAS, KOLN firms and State Hydraulic Works, a 15m high and 26km long barrier will be constructed and 580 million m3 water collected will be released to 40.000ha land. If this project, planned to be completed on 03.11.2015, becomes realized, the marshes will turn into an artificial reservoir such as a washing basin instead of maintaining its natural characteristic. It is not clear whether the stored water will be used in the natural water cycle of the marshland or transferred to new agricultural fields.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Hotamis Marshes, Turkey
State or province:Konya
Location of conflict:Karapinar and Cumra districts and Karaman central district - Konya
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Dams and water distribution conflicts
Water access rights and entitlements
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Specific commodities:
Biological resources
Live Animals
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1990
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Development of alternatives:It is proposed that a restoration project is conducted.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:As a result of the marshes drainage, all relevant stakeholders (local communities, scientific community, experts, local and national NGOs, some public institutions) admitted being the adverse effects. Nonetheless, State Hydraulic Works did not support any initiative to restore the area. On the other hand, it continues to work in order to wipe out a site that could be restored by constructing barriers. Moreover, it claims to build these barriers in order to save the marshland and convinces the public opinion.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

EIA Regulation,

Ramsar Convention,

Wetlands Management Regulation.

Strategy of State Hydraulic Works,

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Wetland management in Turkey: Problems, achievements and perspectives (Karadeniz et al., 2009)

2009/Nov/Karadeniz et al.pdf
[click to view]

Key Biodiversity Areas of Turkey Book - the Turkish Nature Association (Doga Dernegi), Green Atlas Magazine, Atlas Magazine

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Article on Hotamis Lake (Turkish):
[click to view]

Half of Turkeys wetlands lost in last 40 years, report says, Hurriyet Daily News:
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Nuri Ozbagdatli
Last update18/08/2019
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