“This dam will not turn us into a developed country; it will turn us into an uncivilized and underbred community that does not know how to spend its money,” Yüksek said, stressing the potential loss of a 15,000-year-old piece of cultural heritage.
Although a site must meet only one of the 10 criteria of UNESCO’s World Heritage List to be included on the list, Hasankeyf meets nine criteria, the only ancient site in the world to meet so many criteria.
UNESCO, however, can only grant heritage list status if the government requests it, yet Turkey has not applied.
Yüksek said the government refused to apply to UNESCO because the World Heritage status necessitates the protection of the site.
Constructing a dam on such a valuable site was also an injustice to local people, Yüksek said, because the area has a high economic potential for tourism.