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See It While You Can

A Photo Gallery from Hasankeyf, Turkey The Southeastern Anatolian Project (GAP), Turkey's ambitious, 12-phase hydropower...

A Photo Gallery from Hasankeyf, Turkey

The Southeastern Anatolian Project (GAP), Turkey's ambitious, 12-phase hydropower initiative, has been in the works since the late 1960s. Its completion will, its planners hope, provide Turkey with the energy and irrigation to join the "developed world." But the Ilisu Dam, a critical component of GAP, will turn the ancient city of Hasankeyf-home to archaeological digs and ethnic minorities-into a lake. See it while you can.

A view of Hasankeyf, and the Tigris River.

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As we mentioned in Friday's "This Week in GOOD," 50 cities across all seven continents debuted James Nachtwey's photographs depicting the suffering brought on by extreme drug-resistant tuberculosis. We stopped by the New York event where a panel of TB experts and TED curator Chris Anderson outlined the challenges presented by the epidemic, which, according to a recent Time article, affects half a million people, mostly in developing countries.

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Village of the Dammed

Part 6 in "Village of the Dammed," a blog mini-series from Turkey, on the country's controversial Ilisu Dam. Our first...

Part 6 in "Village of the Dammed," a blog mini-series from Turkey, on the country's controversial Ilisu Dam.

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Our first glimpse of Hasankeyf was from across the Tigris. Through the dusty air, a colorful town is gouged into the steep topography of the riverbank. The mosque's minaret towers over a cluster of houses and a few shops, and above that is a cliff face punctured with gaping caves and speckled with the crumbling remains of an ancient city. The Ilisu Dam won't destroy all of it; estimates of the reservoir's height anticipate that the graveyard, the castle, mosques, churches, prisons, domiciles, and a field of other buildings atop the cliffs will be out of the water's reach. As for the bridge pillars and other ruins along the lower banks, one Turkish engineer aspires to save them by dragging them Fitzcarraldo-style up the mountain to a memorial park where they'll be safe from the flood. Other experts scoff at this rescue mission. Abdusselam Ulucam, the Turkish archaeologist leading excavation at Hasankeyf, is one of many who believes they're too fragile: "The stone would crumble to dust in your hands."

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Bridging the GAP

Part 2 in "Village of the Dammed," a blog mini-series from Turkey, on the country's controversial Ilisu Dam. Self-defined...

Part 2 in "Village of the Dammed," a blog mini-series from Turkey, on the country's controversial Ilisu Dam.

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Ilisu: Making Waves

Part 1 of "Village of the Dammed," a blog mini-series from Turkey, on the country's controversial Ilisu...

Part 1 of "Village of the Dammed," a blog mini-series from Turkey, on the country's controversial Ilisu Dam.

Hasankeyf is a millenia-old city, home to almost every powerful civilization in Mesopotamia's archaeological record from the Western Roman Empire forward. It has been continuously inhabited until just the past two years. Now it sits in purgatory waiting for its own Great Flood.The flood waters would come with the construction of the Ilisu dam, one component in a 12-phase energy initiative, the Southern Anatolia Project (Güneydo?u Anadolu Projesi, or GAP). The GAP involves damming the Tigris and the Euphrates (an idea originally conceived by ruler Atatürk in the 1930s) to produce "clean" energy, new jobs, irrigation and agroindustry, and with those things, regional economic growth. The first of GAP's 22 dams was completed in 1987. Ilisu Dam, named for Ilisu town, was conceived in the '50s and designed by 1982. A master plan for the dam unfolded in the last two decades. Its ETA changes as fickle or anxious investors come and go. In the meantime, the inhabitants in the predominantly Kurdish region that will be submerged upon the dam's completion are treading water while they await news.Achieving the energy and development goals of the GAP could help pull Turkey out from under its "developing nation" reputation and into the modern world-maybe even into the E.U. But the cost of progress in the case of Ilisu-drowning myriad priceless archaeological sites and ancient monuments, destroying an ecosystem, and disrupting the lives of tens of thousands of people-reflects the conflicts between development and preservation, energy and environmentalism, modernity and heritage.

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Three Years After Katrina

Anniversaries are a time for celebrating how we've grown, acknowledging the distances we've traversed, congratulating each other for the...

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