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European rights court rejects application on destruction of archeological site in Turkey

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on Thursday rejected an appeal against Turkey on the construction of a dam in Hasankeyf, an archeological site in the southeast of the country.

The ECHR unanimously ruled that the application was “inadmissible” and found that there was no arguable claim that the project would violate the right to education and the right to respect for private life, according to a statement issued on Feb. 21, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

The ECtHR asserted that protecting heritage is the Turkish authorities’ responsibility and that “the Court has no jurisdiction to consider whether or to what extent the construction of a dam could undermine a cultural heritage.”

Five applicants — three professors, a lawyer and a journalist — appealed to the court in March 2006 to stop the construction of the dam in Hasankeyf.

One of the applicants initially applied to Turkey’s Prime Minister’s Office for the cancellation of the dam project. Following the tacit dismissal of his request, the lawyer applied to an Ankara administrative court, which also dismissed his appeal in 2012.

“The destruction of Hasankeyf will violate the right to education of today’s humanity as well as the future generations,” the applicants said in their application, adding that the transferal of monuments to another place is not possible since most of the remains are “not amenable to such manipulation.”

The applicants also argued that the construction of the Ilısu Dam will have an irreversible impact on the nature and landscape of the region.

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