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Turkish dam depends on survey results

BRITISH INVOLVEMENT in a controversial £1bn hydroelectric project in Turkey depends on the outcome of an environmental impact assessment, the Government said this week.

Balfour Beatty is part of the consortium chosen to build the project for the Turkish Hydro-Electric Authority. The scheme is backed by Government export credit guarantee body ECGD which has provisionally agreed to underwrite loans worth £200M.

The British contractor leads the consortium whose other members include Impregilo, Skanska, and Turkish companies Nurol, Kiska and Teksen.

Environmentalists fear the Ilisu dam will give Turkey control over the flow of the Tigris river, jeopardising water supply to neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

The reservoir will submerge 15 towns and 52 villages, many of international historical importance, and around 20,000 of the region's persecuted Kurdish population will also lose their homes.

Environmental pressure group Friends of the Earth has condemned Balfour Beatty for its involvement in the project which it has dubbed 'unethical'.

An ECGD spokesman said it was waiting for principal loan guarantor the Swiss Export Credits Agency to release an Environmental Impact Assessment on the project before deciding whether to back the scheme.

A Balfour Beatty spokesman said: 'All environmental issues and other issues related to the project will have to be accrued by the relevant government agencies led by the Swiss government'.

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