People of Yusufeli will soon move into their new homes and shops soon as the northeastern Turkish town will be flooded by the waters of a newly constructed dam and hydroelectric plant. This is actually the seventh time in its history that Yusufeli has been moved though no people survived since the time the town was last relocated.
The entire town, located in the Artvin province and seven villages in the vicinity, is being moved to a new, higher location. Authorities have continued delivering title deeds for hundreds since July 20 and the process will continue until Sept. 18. New town consists of more than 2,600 housing units, 317 businesses for Yusufeli residents and 520 houses and five stores for residents of seven villages. So far, 2,161 families from Yusufeli were delivered their residences and another 196 families from villages were handed over their new homes.
Necmettin Taşkın, a local who was handed over his new home, says he feels sad but hopes the new town will be good for them. “We leave our memories here,” he told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Wednesday. “They will be submerged.”
Hüseyin Aydın, on the other hand, is looking forward to the new Yusufeli. “It will be a slow process but I believe it will be a beautiful town,” he says. “Besides, it will have a lake scenery,” he added. “There are a few shortcomings but the new town is very good otherwise,” Mehmet Abanoz, another resident of the new town, says.
“I am proud of the state for what they’ve done here. Workers almost cut off the mountain to create a plain area so that we can move,” Ali Balcı, another resident, said.
Located on the Çoruh River delta, Yusufeli was renamed over the decades and saw its town center relocated during the Ottoman era and early years of Türkiye. It was finally given its present-day status as a district of Artvin in 1950, and the town center was moved to its current location.
The dam, which will hold water once the town is entirely moved, will add $82.2 million (TL 1.5 billion) to the Turkish economy yearly. The dam has a height of 275 meters (902 feet), equivalent to a 100-story building, and would generate up to 540 megawatts when it starts working at full capacity next year. It will generate around 1.9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, Pakdemirli said. With its commissioning, Türkiye's hydroelectric power production capacity will increase by 2%.