Turkey, Ilısu Dam in the Tigris river

Turkey inaugurates the gigantic Ilısu dam on the Tigris river

With an investment of € 1.6 billion, the Ilısu Dam is the 2nd largest in Turkey, only behind the Atatürk Dam, and will generate 4.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

Turkey launched the first turbine of the gigantic Ilısu dam built on the Tigris river in the province of Mardin (southeast Anatolia) on May 19, coinciding with the celebration of the national holiday of Atatürk Remembrance, Youth and Sports Day.

During an inaugural event organised via videoconference due to the measures imposed against the coronavirus pandemic, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended the start-up of the first of the six turbines that will have the gigantic hydraulic project in the future, together with the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey, Fatih Dönmez, and the Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Bekir Pakdemirli.

Turkey’s fourth largest dam, the Ilısu Dam, will contribute with 2.8 billion liras (377 million euros) annually to the Turkish economy, will contribute to the development of the southeast (Anatolia), and is projected to generate 4.1 billion kilowatts hour of electricity a year,” said Erdoğan during the ceremony. “The winds of peace, brotherhood and prosperity that the Ilısu dam will bring can be felt in these lands for centuries,” he added.

“By discharging the water collected here at the Cizre dam, which will be built soon, we will be able to generate 1,100 million kilowatt hours of energy and irrigate 76,500 hectares of land,” explained the Turkish president, recalling that since 2002 Turkey has built 585 dams throughout the country as part of the commitment to renewable energy and increase its own energy resources.

The second largest dam in Turkey

The Ilısu dam is one of the largest energy and irrigation projects carried out in Turkey, with an estimated investment of 12 billion liras (€ 1.615 billion). The project was surrounded by controversy for years because its construction required flooding the historic town of Hasankeyf, built 12,000 years ago and home to 9 civilisations, in addition to displacing from their homes and relocating some 70,000 people.

Built on the Tigris River under the scope of the Southeast Anatolian Project (GAP), which aims to develop the poorest region in the country, the gigantic Ilısu Dam is in fact the second largest dam in Turkey, only after the Dam of Atatürk, which was opened in 1992 and collects the waters of Turkey’s other great river, the Euphrates.