Photographer: Mustafa bilge satkın
Title: Drowned History
Location: Turkey/Batman
Period: 09/2019 - 06/2021
Category: Environment

This project tells the story of people forced to abandon their ancestral city Hasankeyf. It is located in upper Mesopotamia to Anatolia, along the Tigris River in Batman, Turkey. Here, aligned with the state's water policies, the Ilisu Dam was constructed even though, inevitably, historical and cultural heritage would be buried, its precious riverine habitat would be flooded, and people would be de-territorialized.

The city, also known as Rock Fortress, is one of the oldest, continuously inhabited settlements globally, spanning an estimated 12,000 years. This urban establishment was like an open-air museum, containing thousands of human-made caves, hundreds of medieval monuments, and a unique canyon ecosystem in the Tigris Valley.

With the Dam being built, the region's people had to leave their homes, lands, memories, and cultural history altogether behind. The most agonizing part of this process is that they also have to undug their lost loved ones' graves and carry their remains with them.

A view of 12000 years old Hasankeyf before it is flooded br Evidence of numerous civilizations will vanish under the reservoir of the Dam

A newlywed man moving to his new house before the ancient city is submerged Forced to leave his inherited house the young man now has to pay rent for the new settlement

The exhumation of a man who died 50 years ago br His granddaughters and great-grandsons who know him from their mothers are getting ready to move his remains

Houses that were once filled with children now inundating with water The owner of the houses will not be able to see them anymore in a week since that water rises 1 5 meters a day

Praying woman - watching the exhumation br She is deeply sorry to hassle the dead with this process of removal

Last time on the bridge from ancient Hasankeyf to the new town The entrance of the ancient town will soon be flooded A family is going across the bridge to reach the new settlement

Locals are looking at the Cradle of Civilization for the very last time

Turkey s the one and only oil refinery is in Batman This refinery and the dams on Tigris River has a contribution to the economy However the city is one of the five poorest cities in Turkey

Nuri at the age of 73 br He will have to abandon her house within a week All that he has are the memories now they will have to get used to a new way of living

The villagers were maintaining with agriculture and stock raising Losing their land they had to find another way to make a living touristic boat trips in the dam This young man is sunbathing while waiting for a customer

Villagers taking a nap whilst having a long journey home by boat This old boat used for transportation is quite loud and shaky Despite that villagers sleeping on the way home during a four-hour-long journey br

Koctepe four km away from the main dam body of the dam is the very first inundated village Remains of ceramics from the archaeological excavations indicate a history going back to 3000-2700 BC