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Drowned History


by Mustafa Bilge Satkin

Published April 2023

The construction of the Ilısu Dam in Turkey had devastating impacts on the local community and environment in the Dicle Valley, a 100 km-long area along the Tigris River. The project resulted in the displacement of over 10,000 people, most of whom are Kurdish and Arabic, and the submergence of 198 villages, including the ancient city of Hasankeyf, one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited settlements. Despite this, the dam was constructed as part of the state’s water policies, with little regard for the consequences it would have on the local community and environment. The inhabitants of villages were forced to abandon their ancestral homes, sell their livestock, and move to a hastily built new town. The process of moving was emotionally distressing, as people had to exhume the graves of their loved ones and carry their remains to the new town so future generations could visit their ancestors.

Mustafa Bilge Satkın

Istanbul-based Mustafa Bilge Satkın is an independent award-winning documentary photographer with a doctorate in photography from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. Primarily focused on the Middle East, his work has been published by Anadolu Agency and others, and he has participated in national and international solo and group exhibitions. With the hope for a better world, he focuses on social injustice, climate change, and migration issues.

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