Keban Dam

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Dam built on the Euphrates River in eastern Turkey.

In 1974, near the provincial capital city of Elaziğ (1980 population about 143,000), the Keban Dam was opened by Turkey's Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, after eight years of construction. A future prime minister, Turgut Özal, had been an engineer on the project. When it was completed, the Keban Dam was the world's eighteenth-tallest dam at 680 feet (207 m); it created Turkey's third-largest lake.

The Keban Dam is part of Turkey's Southeastern Anatolia Project, a long-term hydroelectric program designed to increase the country's electrical generating capacity by 45 percent. It includes two other damsone on the Tigris River and a second, the Atatürk Dam, completed in 1990, on the Euphrates. The project is intended to increase irrigable land in the region by 700,000 acres (283,000 ha) and to stimulate the economy of the region, largely inhabited by Kurds. The project has been a source of political tension with Syria and Iraq, since both depend on the same rivers for water.

see also ecevit, bÜlent; Özal, turgut; southeastern anatolia project.


Metz, Helen Chapin, ed. Turkey: A Country Study, 5th edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1996.

elizabeth thompson