The US$1.6B project, located about 45km north of the Syrian border, is being built to help irrigate farmland and provide much needed electricity to the region.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the scheme was held on Saturday, 5 August, and was attended by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Energy & Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler. The project, which is due to be completed by 2013, is expected to provide 10,000 jobs and will help turn the region into a tourist attraction.

However, the dam has been subject of much criticism, with opponents arguing that the scheme will destroy historical ruins and artefacts in the Hasankeyf area, which is due to be flooded by the project reservoir.

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