Nestled 30 kilometres from Diyarbakır’s (Amed) Kulp (Pasûr) district, the Geliyê Godernê (Godernê Valley) is on the brink of ecological and cultural erasure due to the Silvan Dam’s construction in southeastern Turkey.
The project has already inflicted severe damage, notably to a historic bridge, and is compounded by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office’s dismissal of concerns over the environmental impact of tree felling, igniting further dissent among environmental advocates and residents.
Aydın Özdemir, a prominent figure from the Kurdish-majority city’s bar association, shared with Medine Mamedoğlu of Özgür Politika the extensive environmental and cultural devastation unfolding, stating, “The region is being ravaged without any regard for its natural, living inhabitants or its ecological integrity. We, as volunteers and representatives of civil society, are steadfast in our commitment to halt this desecration”.
The construction not only poses environmental hazards but has also deeply impacted the local community, causing both physical damage to homes and emotional trauma among residents. Mehmet Şirin Şeker, from the affected village of Taşköprü, conveyed the profound loss felt by the community: “Our once peaceful existence here has been shattered. The constant fear from the explosions has taken a toll, particularly on the children, whose sense of security has been deeply shaken.”
Despite mounting legal challenges and public outcry to cease construction, the dam’s progression signals the impending submersion of 50 villages and the erasure of the Godernê Valley’s historical and ecological legacy.
Güner Yanlıç, representing the Mesopotamia Ecology Movement, expressed to Bianet’s Tuğçe Yılmaz the profound grief over the ongoing destruction, emphasising, “Gelîyê Godernê, a jewel in the landscape of Kurdistan, is being obliterated. This is not just an attack on nature but a deliberate obliteration of history and culture with every detonation of dynamite.”