Written Answers. - Archaeological Sites.

Jack Wall

Question:

33 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of the World Archaeological Congress in relation to the Ilisu Dam project; if the Government will withhold its support from a recent report prepared for a committee of the Council of Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3749/02]

I am aware of the concerns of the World Archaeological Congress and others in relation to the construction of the Ilisu Dam on the River Tigris in south east Turkey. These concerns relate to the effects which construction of the dam may have on the local population; its impact on cultural heritage in the area, particularly the great archaeological sites of Hasankeyf; and the reported lack of adequate consultation with the affected communities on resettlement issues and on local claims to cultural heritage.

On 11 December 2001, the Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe approved an information report on the cultural aspects of the Ilisu Dam project. The report was prepared by the committee's general rapporteur on cultural heritage, Mrs. Vlasta Stepová. I presume it is to this report that the Deputy refers in his question. It is to be hoped that the Turkish authorities will carefully bear in mind the legitimate concerns which have been expressed in relation to the project. In this context, the information report prepared by the committee represents an important contribution to discussion. As the Deputy is aware, however, its conclusions are not shared by all those with an interest in the matter.

Question No. 34 answered with Question No. 10.