September 6, 2013, National Geographic Newswatch
Thirteen years ago, life changed forever for the residents of Halfeti, a town on the Euphrates River in Southeastern Turkey.
The Birecik hydroelectric dam opened in 2000, creating a reservoir that flooded most of the town. The government paid Halfeti’s residents for their submerged property, but people didn’t know how to invest the funds responsibly.
“We weren’t able to acquire anything good, we couldn’t use the money, because for years the people have been dependent on the land,” says former Halfeti mayor Mehmet Gökçe. “The land provided us with our livelihood.”