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Trude  Mandag 9. Mars 2009, kl. 14:31

From the newspaper Hürriyet

Differing views at the Alternative Water Forum
ISTANBUL - Organized to coincide with the 5th World Water Forum, the 
Alternative Water Forum presents different opinions on water policy. 
The alternative forum will take place March 20 to 22 at Bilgi 
Univeristy?s Santralistanbul Campus

"Another water management is possible," read the poster at the 
Alternative Water Forum on Thursday. Organized to coincide with the 
5th World Water Forum, the Alternative Water Forum creates a 
counterview for all the policies on water.

Organized by various non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, and 
political parties, the alternative forum claims that water cannot be 
privatized and that it is everyone?s right to access water.

The alternative forum will take place March 20 to 22 at Bilgi 
Univeristy?s Santralistanbul Campus, on the opposite shore from the 
Sütlüce Culture and Congress Center, which will host the World Water 

To judge the many incorrect politics on water there will be an 
"Istanbul Water Court" during the alternative forum. The court will be 
held by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Foundation and Latin America Water 
Court Organization. The jury will be seven people and the "court" will 
investigate the dams that are to be built in Yusufeli, Hasankeyf and 
Munzur. The court will also examine the social and environmental 
corruption in Mexico and the planned dam project on Brazil?s Madeira 

Talking on behalf of all the participants, musician Birol Topalo?lu 
said the 5th World Water Forum is far from including the NGO?s within 
the forum and there were a few NGO?s picked and invited. Topalo?lu 
said many of the foreign NGOs participating in the 5th World Water 
Forum have already been declared.

Statement of intention

"Organizing the ?Alternative Water Forum,? we first aim to show that 
another water policy is possible. By offering a different perspective 
we will gather corporations, establishments, NGO?s, political parties 
and public who fights for the water issues," Topalo?lu said.

During his speech Topalo?lu revealed plans showing that General 
Directorate of State Hydraulic Works, or DS?, plans to build 600 dams 
in Turkey. "Although it is going to create 10,000 megawatts of energy 
annually, they don?t take notice of the damage it will cause to 
nature," said Topalo?lu. "There are plans to build 50 damn on just one 
river near the Black Sea. The Il?su Dam Project will leave 313 square 
kilometers of settlement underwater, which will also destroy the 
10,000-year-old city, Hasankeyf."

"We will stand side by side with people for their benefit," said Ak?n 
Birdal, mayoral candidate for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality from 
the Pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP.

Birdal said that people should take note that the organizers of the 
5th World Water Forum have called on each parliamentary to be a part 
of the water commoditizing international powers. "But water is a right 
and that?s why we are organizing the ?Alternative Water Forum.?"

Ufuk Uras, a deputy of the Freedom and Solidarity Party, or ÖDP, 
called on people to unite and defend their rights and save the future 
for the children. "Water is life and cannot be a part of trade life, 
that?s why policies should favor humans and their needs," Uras said, 
adding that people should participate in water related events. He said 
there shouldn?t be a management for some things in this world.

According to the organizers of the alternative forum, water has become 
just another commodity for international trade. "In Turkey people pay 
to buy drinking water and this is unbelievable," said Ulrike Dufner, a 
representative of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Foundation.

The foundation has organized two meetings for the alternative water 
forum. One will be on global warming, water and drought and the other 
on cooperation with the River Network organization about preserving 
clean water.

Dufner said they invited the governments of Turkey, France and Germany 
to the "water court" but none responded. She said she would prefer a 
gathering of all sides after both forums are over. "I believe that the 
result might be more concrete if the two sides would discuss all the 
water issues. I don?t believe NGOs attending the 5th World Water Forum 
will change anything," Dufner said.

Ömer Madra, executive editor of independent radio station Aç?k Radyo, 
attended a pre-meeting of the Water Forum and talked about global 
warming and incorrect government policies on water. He said it was 
good to be there on the opposing side. Madra is not assisting in 
preparations for the Alternative Water Forum but he said he is 
definitely on their side. "We can make a progress if we want," he said.