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Mesaj sayısı: 559






 Council of Europe

Strasbourg, France



Submitted upon the Article 34 of the European Convention of Human Rights and articles 39,40,41,42,45 and 47 of the Court Regulation


I-                    PARTIES





  1.  Surname: AHUNBAY            2. Name:          Zeynep            

  Sex:  Female


  1.  Nationality: Turkish      4.  Profession:  Conservation architect  , Professor of Conservation at Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture , Istanbul,Turkey


  1.  Date of birth and place : 20.06.1946 , Ünye/ Turkey


  1.  Place of residence     : Ağa Çırağı Sok. 8/6 Taksim/Beyoğlu/Istanbul/ Turkey


  1.  Phone number            :  00 90  0212 293 77 79


  1.  Current address        : Ağa Çırağı Sok. 8/6 Taksim/Beyoğlu/İstanbul/TURKEY


Positions held and activities related to the site:

  • Participation in excavation and conservation works at Hasankeyf : 1998-2000
  • Presentation  of Hasankeyf as a Heritage at Risk site  to  ICOMOS  Europe
  • Organization of seminars   for the salvage of Hasankeyf during the years 1999-2005,  as president of ICOMOS Turkey



  1.  Surname: ARIK                     2. Name:  Oluş                        

 Sex:    Male


  1.  Nationality:   Turkish    4.  Profession:    Professor of Art History and Archaelogy


  1. Date of birth and place : 28.07.1934 , Ankara / Turkey
  2. Place of residence      : Yeni Kordon 1. Sok. Soydan 5/A-11 Çanakkale/Turkey


  1.  Phone number : 00 90  0286 213 13 04


  1.  Current address        : Yeni Kordon 1. Sok. Soydan 5/A-11 Çanakkale/TURKEY


Positions held and activities related to the site:

  • Preliminary surveys and  archaeological investigations at Hasankeyf : 1985
  • Director of archaeological excavations at Hasankeyf :  1986 - 2003

 ( mandate ended  in    2003  by administrative decision )

  • Author of  the book “Hasankeyf, Üç Dünyanın Buluştuğu Kent / Hasankeyf, The City Where The Three Worlds Meet”, Istanbul 2004, Türkiye İş Bank Publication



  1.  Surname:  AHUNBAY                       2. Name: Metin                       

 Sex: Male


  3. Nationality: Turkish         4. Profession:        Architect, archaeologist, Professor of       architectural history

  1.  Date of birth and place :  19.05.1935 – Istanbul /Turkey


  1.  Place of residence     :   Ağa Çırağı Sok. 8/6 Taksim/Beyoğlu/Istanbul/TURKEY                                     


  1.  Phone number :         00 90 0212 293 77 79


  1.  Current address        Ağa Çırağı Sok. 8/6 Taksim/Beyoğlu/İstanbul/ TURKEY


Positions held and activities related to the site:


      Architectural research and documentation  at Hasankeyf  : 1986-1991, 1998-2001




  1.  Surname:  YÜKSEK              2. Name: Özcan          

       Sex: Male


  1.  Nationality: Turkish      4. Profession:    Journalist


  1.  Date of birth and place  : 10.05.1963 , Rize / Turkey


6.        Place of residence:             Kılıç Ali Paşa Mah. Akarsu Yokuşu No: 4/4

        Cihangir/Beyoğlu/İstanbul/ Turkey


  1.  Phone number : 00 90 212 410 35 48


  1.  Current address        : Kılıç Ali Paşa Mah. Akarsu Yokuşu No: 4/4

   Cihangir/Beyoğlu/İstanbul/ TURKEY


Positions held and activities related to the site:


  • Publication of several articles about Hasankeyf and organizer of a campaign for the salvage of Hasankeyf  as editor of ATLAS monthly, a popular journal on  environmental, geographical and cultural topics  




  1.  Surname:  CANO                   2. Name: Murat           

 Sex: Male


  1.  Nationality: Turkish      4. Profession:      Attorney at law


  1.  Date of birth and place  : 01.01.1953 , Erzincan /Turkey


  1. Place of residence: Taksim İstiklal Caddesi Meşelik Sokak No:36 K:3 D:8        

                                                              34433 Beyoğlu-Istanbul/TURKEY


  1.  Phone number : 00 90 212 252 92 32 pbx


  1.  Current address        : Taksim İstiklal Caddesi Meşelik Sokak No:36 K:3 D:8         

                                                               34433 Beyoğlu-Istanbul/TURKEY


Positions held and activities related to the site


  • Attorney  at law specialized in minority rights and  protection of cultural heritage 





1-  Republic of Turkey

2-  Federal Republic of Germany

3-  Republic of Austria


II-                  STATEMENT OF FACTS


14.1          The Republic of Turkey  has started a project : Ilısu Dam, which consists of a  dam and a hydroelectric power  plant  over the river Tigris . The region in which this project will be realized is located within the cultural sphere of  ancient Mesopotamia.


The dam and the hydro-electric power plant in question are intended to be commissioned to an international consortium lead by a Swiss firm, accompanied by firms from the Federal Republic of Germany, Republic of Austria and Turkey.


14.2          According to information gathered from  national  press, the construction of the  dam will start in March of 2006. There are plans to move some of the  historic  monuments from the ancient city  to another location at a higher position in the landscape, in order to save them from being  inundated by the dam.


The projected Ilısu dam  aims to generate  a 170 km long  lake which  will stretch from Hasankeyf  in  Batman province  to Cizre county in Şırnak province. The capacity of the dam reservoir is   11.400 billion cubic meters.  It is intended to hold 7.4 billion cubic meters of water constantly (the yearly flow of the  Tigris is 16 billion cubic meters).


According to  the survey conducted by Prof. Algaze,   about 200 sites dating from prehistory up to the Middle Ages  will be affected by the construction of the dam.  No serious excavation has been conducted in most of the archaeological sites  in the threatened area.  Excavations in Hasankeyf  have been going on about twenty years now,  but the archaeological potential of the site is far from being fully exploited.   The researches so far  have revealed  important  finds   relating to the history and archaeological significance  of the site.  These can be summarized as follows:


a)      HASANKEYF is a  significant representative of man’s creative  genius 


Monuments and groups of buildings within Hasankeyf testify to highest level of design and ingenuity. The tomb of Zeynel Bey, the Mosque of Sultan Suleyman, the bridge over the river Tigris and the Castle can be mentioned as  outstanding examples of   their time and architectural types. The  excavations revealed  presence of Chalcholithic settlement in the lower city and Assyrian presence (8th century B.C) in the cave dwellings. The foundation of the Castle goes back to the  rule of  the Roman Emperor Constantinos.


b)      HASANKEYF  is a witness to an important interchange of human values, of developments in architecture, and in monumental arts   Hasankeyf,  is located within Mesopotamia, one of the cradles of humankind. Archaeological remains from Roman to Seljuks are visible in the settlement.  Its collection of  architectural  remains from   Artukid, Ayyubid and Akkoyunlu periods  reflects that this is a point where different cultures met and merged . Craftsmen coming from the east, like the architect of Zeynel Bey Mausoleum, have introduced glazed tile architecture to this land of stone building tradition . The glazed tile architecture was fashionable in central Asia, especially in Semerkand, capital of Tamerlane’s Kingdom. Thus, an architectural taste within a geographical region which  stretched from Semerkand to Istanbul, found its expression also in Hasankeyf. To identify and understand these relationships is important for the cultural history of the  world. The wide spanning arches of the  famous bridge of Hasankeyf was a structural wonder to its spectators when it linked not only  the two sides of the town in the Middle Ages but also provided passage from the south to the  north. The Ottoman Bridge in Mostar built in the middle of the sixteenth century incorporates the knowledge and technology inherited from this bridge. Being on the Silk Road, Hasankeyf was a stopping point for many travellers who brought interesting ideas to this place and took their valuable experiences from this wonderful town to far away cities,  inspiring new ideas.


c)      HASANKEYF  bears testimony to  cultural traditions which have disappeared 

Hasankeyf is a settlement with many layers: it has   remains from     prehistoric/ Chalcholithic,  up to the  late Ottoman period. It is almost unique in being preserved with all its medieval features because the site  has been deserted long time ago.   Roman, Byzantine, Artukid, Ayyubid and Akkoyunlu  cultural layers  provide information about the way of living of the people who occupied this territory  at different periods in history.


d)      HASANKEYF  is a significant cultural landscape with its   outstanding examples of cave dwellings, religious and funerary monuments

The monument which is called Kızlar Camii is an interesting funerary building which has no matching example in the Islamic world. The mausoleum of  Zeynel Bey is the only surviving example of a central Asian styled tomb in the region, built with glazed tiles and preserving its double shelled dome. The cave dwellings and monuments carved into the rock are also interesting features of this settlement . The importance of providing living spaces within the soft rock has lead to unique solutions. There are also religious buildings,  a church and a mosque are  carved into the solid rock. The landscape is spectacular; the relationship of the river Tigris with the city  on top of the high rising cliffs creates a unique landscape. The  impressive gateways to the castle and the integration of  one of the main towers of the castle with the main rock make an unmatched  compostion.


e)      HASANKEYF  is an outstanding example of a natural and archaeological site  which has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change   Hasankeyf  preserves its  cave dwellings and the  Medieval urban structure, yet  the bedrock is sensitive   to the   penetration of water through the fissures . The interesting  water conveyance system, religious and  military architecture,  dwellings and shops cut into the rock are vulnerable  to  the action of men and nature. At the moment,  the   Ilısu Dam Project is the most serious danger for the site.  It is essential to preserve this exceptional cultural landscape from all potential risks  for the benefit and enjoyment  of all mankind .

f)        HASANKEYF is directly associated with living traditions, ideas and beliefs – (intangible heritage)  According to local legends,  Hasankeyf is associated  with some Biblical myths . It is believed that the cave of the  famous “seven sleepers” is in the vicinity  of Hasankeyf. Several of the  mosques, graveyards, mausolea in Hasankeyf  are considered as  holy places of worship and are greatly  venerated by the  local people as they  have great respect for their ancestors and  monuments  with religious significance..





15.1 The following articles of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms are being violated: Article 1, entitled “Obligation to respect human rights”; Article 2, entitled “Right to Life”; Article 5, entitled “Right to Liberty and Security”; Article 9 on “Freedom of Thought”; Article 10 on “Freedom of Expression” and Article 14 on “the Prohibition of Discrimination” and Article 2 of the Protocol no. 1 to the Convention, entitled “Right to Education”.


15.2  According to the first sentence of the Article 2 of “the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”, adopted on 4.10.1950 in Rome, and henceforth called the Convention, “Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law” .


         “The right to life”, no doubt, covers not merely the physical sustenance of the biological existence of the individual. Apart from the biological and physical  existence, human  beings  acquire intellectual, artistic and spiritual  values  and   pass these  on to future generations.   Human beings need to have the rights and the freedom to make use of their rights in order to benefit fully from the right to life. Therefore Article 1 of the Convention obliges the  state parties to “secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and  freedoms defined in Section 1 of this Convention.” 


15.3   One of the rights secured by the Convention is the “Right to Education”. This right should not be understood solely as the education provided by standard schools at different levels.  Every human being has the right to visit,  get in contact , understand, learn about different cultures and their cultural heritage, thus  know about  the past and  the other cultures.  Direct  contact  with the “previous” and “the other”  cultures are   primary and  ideal  means  of learning and  being educated.

         It is  only possible to learn more  about “the previous” and  “the other” cultures by studying the artifacts or remnants of the past eras or peoples.  For this reason, the cultural heritage should be accessible to everyone and at all times. Accessibilty is only possible if the cultural heritage is protected.   Expressed in legal terms,  the right of access to  information  includes the right of access to  the   valuable remains of  past civilizations:  the chance to  see, study and make historic and scientific deductions from these objects or works of art. 


15.4   No discrimination should be made among  cultures and  cultural heritage belonging to  people. 


15.5   The right of access to information is possible and meaningful  if  there is freedom to share information.  If information is not shared, it will not be possible to  convey values of one culture  to other people.  In such cases, “common human values”  and “shared values” can not be established  globally.  This may deprive humanity from   developing  a mutual understanding which can contribute to the development of a conscious effort for  living together in peace.  In fact, the works of art and culture unite people and provide a common basis for appreciation of human achievements. The invisible bridges which cultural heritages of mankind build among peoples of the world are the foundations on which world peace can flourish.


15.6   Hasankeyf  is a significant site which meets more than one of   UNESCO’s  criteria for the asssessment of outstanding universal value; at national level Hasankeyf  site is  scheduled as an archaeological site of major importance by the Turkish authorities. It is well known that the ancient cultures    which have developed along the Nile and in Mesopotamia are the precursors of Mediterranean civilization, also the beginning of the world civilization. To destroy  the vestiges of the past cultures means to erase some part of man’s collective memory. Hasankeyf is not only a  unique Medieval site with a spectacular landscape, its archaeological treasures  include prehistoric times, there are significant contributions from the Roman culture; the  remains of  the military stronghold at the  eastern border of the Eastern Roman Empire  were revealed during  recent excavations.   In view of its significance and in accordance with the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (revised in Valetta  in 1992), the responsibility of protecting the  archaeological heritage in Hasankeyf should be shared by Turkey and all the other European countries. 


15.7   The preliminary project, proposed  by the high contractual states for  the transfer of some of the major   monuments in Hasankeyf is not acceptable; it should not be put into action.    The medieval monuments in Hasankeyf are mostly constructed using rubble  masonry, which means that the building material is not blocks of regular geometry  but consists of roughly shaped  stones joined together with strong mortar.  When one tries to dismantle  monuments built with this technique,  the architectural members  will disintegrate into rubble. The authenticity of the site will be lost if only some parts of the monuments (like minarets or gateways ) which are built with regular blocks are selected for transfer to the site which will be the “ New Hasankeyf”.   It is very complicated to cut and transfer cave dwellings and shops carved into the bedrock.  Moreover, it is impossible to recreate the  spectacular natural landscape which is very important for the appreciation of the ancient site.  The high cliffs which have been formed by the action of  the Tigris  river in  the course of millions of years, the river itself and the citadel   are  the major elements  which are not transferrable.    Since the  archaeological excavations at Hasankeyf are far from being complete, the site will suffer seriously from inundation  by the loss of archaeological  information the  unresearched areas would provide .


15.8   We, the applicants,  believe that the inundation of Hasankeyf will  result in the loss of historic, scientific and landscape values which are important for all mankind. The execution of the dam project will affect us in a negative way , depriving our access to cultural heritage- a human right which is very important for  aesthetic and scientific reasons; since  cultural heritage is a source of inspiration and information for  all human beings.       Therefore, we will be relieved  and benefit greatly from the removal of potential dangers  and  related  losses which will be caused by the construction of the Ilısu dam and the transfer of  monuments.  




          We, the applicants, as Turkish citizens,  do not have the right to intervene to the  transactions  related to the Ilısu Dam carried out in the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Germany. Therefore, it seems out of question to “exhaust” the courses of domestic law in those countries. The lawsuit by lawyer  M. Cano in the year 2000 against the administrative processes by the Republic of Turkey has not been concluded yet. Since the decisions and administrative processes made by the governments and the respective public organizations of the other high contractual  parties were not disclosed, we do not know what these are. Moreover, the “administrative practices” of the high contractual states show that applying  to the domestic law does not promise to be fruitful. In fact, although the UK, Sweden and Italy withdrew from the international consortium, previously  established on the initiative of the Swiss firm, the implementation of the project  came up again , due to the political and administrative public institutions in Turkey and the guaranteed credit by the governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Austria.




19.  The purpose  of the application is ;

      1. To stop the construction of the Ilısu Dam before some monuments in Hasankeyf are damaged by dismantling/ transfer  projects and the region is flooded . In order to gain time to consider the case fully, but not  permitting  any destruction  to the cultural heritage in the reservoir basin,   temporary injunction measures  are necessary (according to the Article 39 of the Court Regulation); urgent serving method should be applied  to notify the  consortium   of the intervention (according to Article 40) ; in view of its importance, the case should be considered in priority (according to Article 41) ; evidence should be gathered  (according to Article 42),


      2.   To establish the fact that  the articles 1., 2., 5., 9., 10. and 14. of the Convention and the article 2 of the Protocol no. 1 to the Convention are being violated  .  




20. Lawyer M. Cano applied to the EU, Council of Europe, UNESCO and to all the member countries which took part in the previous composition of the consortium.   UNESCO and the Council of Europe did not respond. England, Italy and Sweden authorities withdrew from the project. The EU, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Federal Government of Austria responded negatively.


Afterwards, an application was sent to the General Office of the Council of Europe by Lawyer M. Cano and, along with the 20 members of the Dams and Cultural Heritage Watch Committee of which Prof. Dr. M. Ahunbay and Prof.Dr. Z. Ahunbay are also  members.  






21. 1.         Decision number 2000/36-274, dated 6.4.2000  of Ankara 4th Administrative Affairs Court, refusing to  review the case; referring it to the Administrative Court in Diyarbakır  


      2.         Decision number 2000/5169-5217 dated 16.10.2000 of Supreme Court, Division 10, referring the case to Diyarbakır Administrative Affairs Court.  


3.         Decision nubler 2001/205-99, dated 22.2.2001 of Diyarbakır Administrative Court refusing to discuss the case, referring it to the Supreme Court in Ankara. 


4.         Decision number 2001/1243-1006 dated 20.11.2001 of Diyarbakır Administrative Affairs Court refusing to discuss the case.  


5.         Decision number   2002/1880 dated   4.6.2002 of Supreme Court, Division 10 related to negating the decision of  Diyarbakır  Administrative Affairs Court 


6.     Decision of Supreme Court,  related to file number  2002/1880 , 2003/2458  on  16.3.2003  negating the decision of the Diyarbakır Administrative Affairs Court (decision taken with majority of votes) 


 7.        Letter dated 18.4.2005 sent  in response to the  application of   one of the applicants, Attorney   M. Cano  to the Administrative Affairs Court in Diyarbakır on 21.03.2005  


      8.         Copy of letters sent by Attorney M. Cano to  UNESCO, EU, Council of Europe and the letter sent in response by  the  Permanent Commission of EU 


      9.         Petition presented to EU General Secretariat by the Turkish Dams and Cultural Heritage Watch Committee  and the related report by MS Stepova 


      10.       Clip from the Turkish daily “Referans”  dated  4.2.2006


       11.      A copy of the book  Hasankeyf Üç Dünyanın Buluştuğu Kent /     Hasankeyf, The City Where The Three Worlds Meet”, Istanbul 2004, Türkiye İş Bank Publication by applicant Prof.Dr. Oluş Arık 




22. We certify that the information provided here is correct .


With best regards,     23.2.2006  Istanbul /Turkey


Professor  Zeynep Ahunbay      Professor Metin Ahunbay     

Professor Oluş Arık

Özcan Yüksek Attorney Murat Cano


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