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Delays at Birecik dam

Turkish Authorities have delayed the filling of the Birecik dam reservoir by ten days to enable archaeologists to excavate an ancient Roman city.

Archaeologists have discovered ancient mosaics at the excavations in Zeugma, along with 60,000 ceramic seals, elaborate Roman columns and 3700 silver and bronze coins. The area was at first slated to be flooded by 18 June 2000, but water will now not reach the area until the end of June (as IWP&DC went to press).

According to officials, with the dam 97% complete, delaying the filling would cost US$30M per month. Energy minister Cumhur Ersumer claims the present delay is costing the government US$10M. The minister also held out the promise of a further delay, if the firm that is building the dam does not want compensation.

Birecik is part of a multi-billion dollar project to irrigate land and alleviate Turkey’s electricity shortage in the nation’s impoverished southeast.