Dicle Valley This is an IBA in danger! 

Country/territory: Turkey

IBA Criteria met: A1, B2 (2016)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 135,548 ha

Doga Dernegi
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2016 very high very unfavourable low
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site summary
The Tigris Valley, with the ancient city of Hasankeyf at its center, is one of humanity’s most valuable legacies. The 11,000-year old town of Hasankeyf is one of the important hubs of Mesopotamia where agriculture was first discovered, scripture was invented, and the first stages of settled life occurred.

The Tigris River Valley represents the single remaining example of the riverine and canyon ecosystems in south eastern Turkey which run along five Key Biodiversity Areas; the Bismil Plain, Tigris Valley, Kupeli Mountain, Eruh Mountains, Cizre and Silopi which host key natural habitats for many threatened species. The Tigris River is one of the world’s rare beauties hosting two important habitats: semi-desert and tundra with trees. The KBA is a river ecosystem mosaic consisting of flood areas changing according to the water levels and flow rates with the seasons, rocky or bushy islands, steep cliffs and wet fields. Rocky and sandy plains are also found in the flood area of the river. 

The main threat on Tigris Valley and Hasankeyf is the Ilisu Dam project which forms part of one of the largest irrigation and hydropower projects worldwide, the so-called South East Anatolian Project (Güneydoğu Anadolu Projesi – GAP). The Ilisu Dam would be the first dam on the Tigris River. The dam would flood dozens of historical artifacts in Hasankeyf inherited from several civilizations including Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Umayyad, Abbasid, Hamdanid, Marwanid, Artuqid, Ayyubid and the Ottoman Empire. To date, researchers have uncovered around 300 ancient sites in the area surrounding Hasankeyf, and it is assumed that many more are waiting to be discovered. The Ilisu Dam Project will negatively affect of the 400km river landscape, five Key Biodiversity Areas and many globally endangered species as the Egyptian Vulture, Euphrates Soft-shelled Turtle, and Leopard (Mesopotamian) Barbel. The site is listed as one of IBAs in Danger in Turkey in 2015 and 2016.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Dicle Valley. Downloaded from on 06/07/2022.