Nationwide Protests in Germany Against German Banks' Investment in Turkey’s Ilisu Dam

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Contact: Ercan Ayboga, Heike Drillisch

Kurdish groups and NGOs organized demonstrations outside local branches of the German Sparkasse (Savings Bank) and Deka Bank in eleven German towns today. The protests are targeting the two banks financial support of the controversial Ilisu dam in south-eastern Turkey that will submerge the ancient city of Hasankeyf. Deka Bank alone is underwriting construction of the hydropower project with more than 100 Million Euros.

“With the financial contribution from DekaBank, more than 55,000 people will be deprived of their livelihoods,” says Ercan Ayboga, member of the Initiative to Save Hasankeyf. “The whole ecosystem of the Tigris will suffer an ecological disaster and our 12,000 year old cultural heritage will be destroyed.”

Demonstrations will take place in Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Hanover, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Aachen, Bonn, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich. Activists will demonstrate in front of Sparkasse branches and alert customers how Deka Bank is irresponsibly investing their money in Turkey.

“Customers of the Sparkasse ought to know that their money finances the destruction of cultural goods and the forced displacement of people in Turkey,” says Heike Drillisch of the development organisation WEED. “We don’t think the customers will appreciate that. After all, nobody is forced to invest their money with Sparkasse or in funds of Deka Bank.”

To say the Ilisu dam is controversial is an understatement. Several German and Swiss banks have already refused to participate in the project. And, while export credit agencies of Austria, Germany and Switzerland did grant the project financial guarantees; they also tied 150 conditions to those guarantees to mitigate ecological and social problems. This does not satisfy Non-governmental organisations that charge the financial support is a blatant violation of international standards. Worse yet, those conditions were completely ignored during expropriation of the first villages.

Deka Bank advertises its cultural sponsorship with the slogan “Create Opportunities,” but Johan Frijns of BankTrack says, “In Hasankeyf and its surroundings Deka Bank is taking away opportunities for people to save their culture and to live their lives. Illegal expropriations have already started.”

Further information:,,

Ercan Ayboga, Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive,, +49 0 163 7577847
Heike Drillisch, World Economy, Ecology und Development (WEED),, +49 0 177 345 26 11.

Published by International Rivers, WEED, Hamburger Aktionskreis Stopp Ilisu-Staudamm – Rettet Hasankeyf, urgewald, BankTrack, Flüchtlingsrat Düsseldorf, Verband der Studierenden aus Kurdistan (yxk), IPPNW, medico international, Mesop, Zanin Hannover, Mesopotamischer Kulturverein Stuttgart, Stuttgarter Wasserforum