Last update:
2017-01-02

Tuzluca Dam, Turkey

Aras River Bird Sanctuary, which hosts the highest number of bird species in eastern Turkey, is under threat of destruction and will not exist in maps anymore. If the planned Tuzluca Dam is constructed in Aras Valley, the area with 49 bird species


Description:

Tuzluca Dam is planned to be constructed at Tuzluca Province of Iğdır city. The Company Bernak Elektrik, who previously won the tender, later withdraw from the project since the profit margin was very low (2.5%). Following that, State Hydraulic Works (DSI) announced that it will construct the dam itself. Thus, the dam is going to be built using tax money. Currently, the construction work is subcontracted to U-Y-S İnşaat.  DSI tries to win public approval emphasizing that the project is an irrigation dam. However, in order to irrigate the low fertility land with wild irrigation methods, higher fertility agricultural land and fruit orchards nearby Aras River will be submerged.  The 45 meters high dam will be constructed 100 meters to Armenian border. 12 km2 of area in Halikisla Village, entire Aras River Bird Sanctuary and 5 villages that hosts 2000 people and their agricultural land will submerge. These people will be displaced.   Aras River Bird Sanctuary, which hosts the highest number of bird species in eastern Turkey, is under threat of destruction and will not exist in maps anymore.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Tuzluca Dam, Turkey
Country:Turkey
State or province:Iğdır
Location of conflict:Iğdır
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Establishment of reserves/national parks
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Specific commodities:Land
Land
Land
Electricity
Electricity
Electricity
Water
Water
Water
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

If the planned Tuzluca Dam is constructed in Aras Valley, the area in which 249 bird species live, feed and breed will submerge. If the Tuzluca dam is constructed in the Aras Valley, the feeding, breeding and wintering areas for at least 264 bird species and 109 mammal, reptile and amphibian species will be destroyed. This includes 34 vertebrate animal species threatened or near threatened with extinction. Half of all vertebrate land animal species in Turkey has been recorded here. Birds ringed (banded) and satellite-tracked at this wetland by KuzeyDoğa Association were recorded to migrate to and from three continents and dozens of countries, including Cyprus, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, and Zambia.

Level of Investment:30,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:2000
Start of the conflict:2011
Company names or state enterprises:U-Y-S İnşaat Turizm Elektrik Telekomünikasyon İletişim Nakliye San. ve Tic. AŞ. (U-Y-S) from Turkey
Bemak Elektrik
Relevant government actors:State Hydraulic Works (Devlet Su İşleri)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:KuzeyDoga Society
Conflict and Mobilization
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local scientists/professionals
Local scientists/professionals
Local scientists/professionals
Students, Villagers
Students, Villagers
Students, Villagers
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of a network/collective action
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Development of alternative proposals
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Official complaint letters and petitions
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Public campaigns

Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Other socio-economic impacts, Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts, Other socio-economic impacts, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Other socio-economic impacts, Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsPotential Income Loss
Outcome
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Criminalization of activists
Migration/displacement
Application of existing regulations
Application of existing regulations
Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:The project should be stopped and the area should be declared a protection zone, a natural park. If the area can be conserved as it is, the park can be a good attraction for birdwatchers from all around the world. There is a huge potential for eco-tourism.
Furthermore, as Aras River passes across Iğdır city, instead of building a large dam, taking water directly from the river and using drip irrigation methods would not only prevent the destruction of these areas through dam construction, but it also is a much more efficient method.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The issue has been covered in press regularly and the awareness level of the local villagers has become higher. Some of the villagers, who were proponents of the projects earlier, changed their minds after the media campaign run by Kuzeydoga Society. The campaign managed to publish the issue in several national and local news outlets, even on TVs. Yet the project is not yet shelved and the EIA report is completed with a positive outcome.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

A BIRDER’S GUIDE TO KARS AND IĞDIR PROVINCES, TURKEY

BY ÇAĞAN H. ŞEKERCİOĞLU
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

The online petition campaign on Change.org
[click to view]

He reached for the birds in Aras River from US (Aras Nehri'ndeki kuşlara ABD'den el uzattı) - in Turkish
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Do not destroy Aras River bird paradise - Campaign Video on Youtube
[click to view]

Other documents

Tuzluca Dam Signpost for the dam
[click to view]

Tuzluca Dam The wetlands seen from above
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Bogazici University on behalf of Lale Aktay (Kuzey Doga Society)
Last update02/01/2017
Comments
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