Who Carries the Water: Feminist Reflections on Anatolian Hydroelectric Power Plants, Rivers, and Resistance

Citation:

Belkis, Fatma, and İz Öztat. 2018. “Who Carries the Water: Feminist Reflections on Anatolian Hydroelectric Power Plants, Rivers, and Resistance.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 14 (3): 368–73.

Authors: Fatma Belkis, İz Öztat

Annotation:

Summary:
"Following the Gezi Uprising in 2013, we felt the need to learn from grassroots struggles, ongoing since 1998, against the construction of small hydroelectric power plants (SHPs) on rivers in numerous valleys of Anatolia. The attempt by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to destroy Gezi Park and the occupation that followed made clear the widespread impact of construction-led growth policies in urban and rural contexts. The anti-SHP movement’s slogan is “Rivers will flow free,” which resonated with us as a radical desire for the right to life of all beings. The slogan voices a demand for the agency of rivers and challenges state and corporate decisions to control their courses with pipes, dams, and dredging.
 
"The grassroots struggle against SHPs coincides with legislation that allows the leasing of water-use rights in rivers to private energy companies for at least fortynine years. Following the privatization “the AKP government launched an aggressive programme” whose goal was building “2,000 small (and large) hydropower plants by 2023, the centennial of the Turkish Republic”(Erensu and Karaman 2017, 14). Governments, corporations, and banks frame SHPs as renewable energy production solutions that facilitate “development,” but in Turkey, as in many other places, their implementation involves removing the water from its bed and running it through pipes to feed multiple turbines, which deprives all living creatures in the ecosystem of their life source.
 
"Our collaborative installation work Who Carries the Water (Belkıs and Öztat 2015) took form as we visited valleys where residents resist the process of dispossession that ensues with the construction of SHPs" (Belkis and Öztat 2018, 368-9).

Topics: Development, Economies, Economic Inequality, Environment, Feminisms, Gender, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods, Privatization Regions: MENA, Asia, Europe, Southern Europe

Year: 2018

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