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Turkey and Dams
heard on news that Turkey plans 1300 new dams, and has just removed the independence of the agency advising on impacts. to top it off, the minister now appears to have the power to over-rule any other decision in this process - Homes, Habitats and Heritage appear to at greater risk.

been here before.

Been here before indeed. As a political and strategic entity, Turkey is unlikely to be subjected to or indeed, retreat under pressure from either internal or external protests. Seen as an important ally by most of the worlds big political players for a wide range of reasons, Turkey can act almost with impunity. The key here in my view is one of negotiation. We can forget forcing any change on the part of the Countries strategic infrastructure plans and any options (if there are any) available to interested parties would rely heavily upon the good will of Turkey. Historically, thats not usually forthcoming. It would be worth a concerted effort by large numbers of heritage organisations worldwide in coming together to voice their concerns. After all, good worldwide PR is a fundamental requirement for the tourist industry that Turkey holds dear. Political pressure is simply not going to legislation is simply not going to work.........loud voices acting in concert may not ultimately work either but-would ensure that the actions of Turkey are brought out into the cold light of day.
It would be good if Europe and North America's academics and academic institutions could act together as one on this matter and not seek to exploit the situation for their own ends - (ha ha ....leave a small gap ..... start laughing!!. Don't stop laughing !!.......what kind of crazy fantasy world are you living in Kev?) .....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
Good day Kevin. Agreed...... one potential avenue of leverage would be Turkeys` application for membership of the European Union. Any existing Member of such would find difficulties in justifying a rejection of mitigation seemingly out of hand. As a PR exercise alone, a turn around by Turkey at this stage would go some way towards convincing Europe that tangible change is indeed on the cards. Involvement at this stage by academics may be useful but needs augmentation through the involvement of other agencies. An exercise in "persistant" lobbying accompanied by/with media coverage should at the very least-raise awareness. It would be worth identifying just where these alleged dams are planned and producing informed impact assessments independently of any similar measures undertaken by the Turkish Authorities. Of course, any collection of interested parties foreign to Turkey will by default be straying into challanging political territory by doing so. What International entities are there out there that would take a stand on this issue? What heritage/conservation bodies would be willing to become involved? Before any of this............what evidence do we have that the statements made in the news and heard by Gnomey are based in fact?:face-approve:
[well I heard it on the BBC R4, so it must be true]

[More broadly]
I see little hope.

Paranoia or Scary Sense? the analysis of Lindsey Williams is unfortunately beginning to make sound rational.
To briefly summarise:
When oil wealth was first discovered in Middle East, the big oil companies and US struck deals whereby American oil fields would be closed down and reserves undeveloped, whilst middle eastern oil would be invested. In return US gets good price + middle eastern profits are obligated to effectively invest in American dollar bonds.
America has vast reserves of oil in its own territory, much of it only accessible by enormously damaging extraction methods >>>> there has been an alleged plan/plot not to develop them until world oil prices reach $200 per barrel
Furthermore, the long term demise of the dollar as the world reserve currency has also been anticipated - when this crashes, it will write of middle eastern assets in the form of American dollar bonds >> this will collapse those economies and cause economic chaos, with global ramifications.
As foreign oil supplies become unaffordable, and USA (+the world) enter depression, it will be easy to begin extraction in USA, regardless of opposition, concern, or ethics. Furthermore, these fields will have major market presence, at astronomical prices.....the rich will get richer, beyond even our humble imaginings....

"we will not open American reserves until oil hits $200/barrel"-"the Greenies will be silenced or change their minds after a good hard dose of Depression" - --- chaos in the middle east certainly raises prices.... carbon taxes seem to raise prices...

BP oil spill anybody? (just another technical oversight?, like 'missing' the 7/7 suspects but shooting Charles DeMenezies, or 'trusting' the single testimony of a defector about WMD in Iraq?, Or an 'unanticipated' collapse of the financial sector? Like a government that shouts loud about democracy elsewhere, but will not listen to its own citizens? ...whoops, so sorry, our bad...)

we commonly berate finance/politicians/corporate business for short term outlooks (the next budget/election/accounting period etc) - but I think we have been encouraged to think this - there certainly are long term corporate plans, and Oil Companies in particular have out looks on 25+ year time-scales......i have to say this is beginning to worry me.

In this context, it is clear to see that around the world, any country without oil reserves will now be looking seriously at Whatever alternatives, and at whatever Cost....
It is hard to see a better future for heritage and archaeology...tourism will be f*cked due to oil prices and instability worldwide - people will be concerned with the 'Basics' and not the finer points of archaeological enquiry....

If we are to save Anything At All, we are going to have to Seriously Prioritise....
Lets not, for example, make the same mistakes as a certain well known unit previously involved with dams in Turkey....huge focus on some Roman town somewhere (boring!) at the expense of much, MUCH deeper prehistory in the same area...
(paleo caves, very VERY early domestication...just imagine the amount of undiscovered soil-based arch lurking in a region like that, never mind the big obvious Roman settlements...this can never even be Assessed at the most crude level once flooded and buried....unlike the 'historic' sites which are located and 'protected' by practice, the non-urban archaeology of the area is lost forever, with only tantalising and depressingly vague scant record.)

(but look at all the lovely pots and mosaics - our American funders really REALLY like them...)

A much stronger case has to made against 'Antiquities' and for Early Human/Civilisation Research...if we must chose, then we MUST keep the earliest remains, and let the Bloody Romans drown.

Have just googled `NEWS TURKEY DAMS` and it seems that most media agencies are already reporting on this. Unesco, Europe and the Greens are on board. I still think its worth assessing precisely what and who are at risk from this. It seems that some are heralding a joint venture with Syria as a "foundation stone" of friendship so deep-rooted and carefully planned political strategies are afoot.Sad
The recent story on the Turkish tunnel projects (BAJR home page) makes for an interesting read. The Turkish PM seems to be frustrated with archaeological "stuff" getting in the way and blames archaeology for the delays experienced during this project. He even goes as far as to question the value of "pots" and "stuff" before announcing that archaeology will no longer cause delays. Worrying indeed in the light of the dams that are planned for the near future. That said, academics and archaeologists working on the tunnel project have not been hesitant in openly criticising the PM for his views so that is a good sign. Most of the comments posted on the home page left by readers of the article have largely focussed on laughing at the Turkish PM and if this can be seen as an indication of public views on his approach then politically and in terms of PR, the future work on the proposed dams will no doubt draw a spotlight to him in unfavourable ways!

Sadly, some of the comments posted by guest readers have accused the Turkish PM of being friends with the Taliban and have suggested that his dismissal of the tunnel archaeology is based upon the "fact" that the archaeology is Greek in origin. Whilst this reactionary rhetoric is unlikely to help, it is a taster of the politically infused PR nightmare that the PM is likely to encounter if he persists in his current attitudes during the dam projects. The Turkish PM would do well to accept advice offered by Turkish archaeologists and academics who clearly share our passion for heritage. The formula is advice from professionals and act upon it and the world will view the Turkish PM in a favourable light. The alternative.......ignore advice, over-rule mitigation requirements, ensure that archaeology does not "cause" delays by destroying it and be demonised from all sides by the international community. Simples.Big Grin

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