Hotamis Marshes, Turkey


Hotamis Marshes have completely dried out as a result of State Hydraulic Works interventions to the water regime through discharge and irrigation channels since mid 1990s. Previously spreading to some 17.400ha the marshes dropped to 8.000ha in 1990 and dried out in early 2000s. The main threat in the area currently is the storage dam intended to be built at the site as an extension of the State Hydraulic Works Blue Tunnel Project. Even though many parties and especially State Hydraulic Works claim that they will save the marshes with the storage dam, the site will completely lose its natural feature if the project is realised leaving no chance for restoration. As a result of the deal signed on 03.11.2011 between YONTAS, KOLN firms and State Hydraulic Works, a 15m high and 26km long barrier will be constructed and 580 million m3 water collected will be released to 40.000ha land. If this project, planned to be completed on 03.11.2015, becomes realized, the marshes will turn into an artificial reservoir such as a washing basin instead of maintaining its natural characteristic. It is not clear whether the stored water will be used in the natural water cycle of the marshland or transferred to new agricultural fields.

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Basic Data
NameHotamis Marshes, Turkey
SiteKarapinar and Cumra districts and Karaman central district - Konya
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Water access rights and entitlements
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Specific CommoditiesWater

Live Animals
Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1990
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Development of AlternativesIt is proposed that a restoration project is conducted.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.As a result of the marshes drainage, all relevant stakeholders (local communities, scientific community, experts, local and national NGOs, some public institutions) admitted being the adverse effects. Nonetheless, State Hydraulic Works did not support any initiative to restore the area. On the other hand, it continues to work in order to wipe out a site that could be restored by constructing barriers. Moreover, it claims to build these barriers in order to save the marshland and convinces the public opinion.
Sources and Materials

EIA Regulation,

Ramsar Convention,

Strategy of State Hydraulic Works,

Wetlands Management Regulation.


2009/Nov/Karadeniz et al.pdf
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Key Biodiversity Areas of Turkey Book - the Turkish Nature Association (Doga Dernegi), Green Atlas Magazine, Atlas Magazine

Wetland management in Turkey: Problems, achievements and perspectives (Karadeniz et al., 2009)


Article on Hotamis Lake (Turkish):
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Half of Turkeys wetlands lost in last 40 years, report says, Hurriyet Daily News:
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Meta Information
ContributorNuri Ozbagdatli
Last update08/04/2014