The Egyptian Alliance issues a report entitled “Turkey Violations against Sovereignty of Water Security of Iraq and Syria”

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Saturday, 19th December 2020

The Egyptian Alliance issues a report entitled “Turkey Violations against Sovereignty of Water Security of Iraq and Syria”

The unit of researches and studies at the Egyptian Alliance for Development and Human Rights issues a report entitled “Turkey Violations against Sovereignty of Water Security of Iraq and Syria” which assures that the recent development plans of Turkey come at the expense of the countries on the mouth of the river (Syria and Iraq) and threatens of depriving the used water historically.

In addition, the report highlights that, in regard to the current Turkish policy and as there is not a clear agreement for Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, it is possible that Turkey will continue in reducing water amounts come from Tigris and Euphrates Rivers to Syria and Iraq to compensate the expected shortage; the matter which negatively affect the two countries. According to the report, accusations against Turkey have been increased recently regarding the usage of dams and water as a weapon in wars witnessed by the region as in Syria and Iraq in addition to Libya. Turkey pumps amounts of water which spring from its lands through controlling them through number of dams the largest of them are in Turkey which is Ataturk Dam on Euphrates River and is considered the second largest dam in the Middle East. Also the most recent of these dams is Ilisu Dam which was opened in 2018 on Tigris River which led to reducing Iraq’s portion of the river’s water with 60%.

It is worth mentioning that Turkey refused to consider Tigris and Euphrates Rivers as rivers of international features, yet it insisted on that the two rivers are crossing borders in violation of the governing international laws. So this matter is considered one of the most prominent disputed points between Syria and Turkey before the two countries signed the agreement of 1987 as a temporary agreement after a security conflict in which Kurds issue was one of the its most prominent elements. The agreement stated that Turkey shall allow the passing of not less than 500 cubic meters/second, on that Syria shall pass not less than 58 of these amount to Iraq in accordance with a signed agreement.

The report discusses a number of axes, the most important of which are:

  • Legislations and agreements in regard to the issue of Tigris and Euphrates Rivers water: the issue of Tigris and Euphrates water has been passed by many agreements to decide in the water situation in coastal countries, finding a solution and stop Turkey’s violations and usage of water as a weapon against Syria and Iraq.
  • The international Situation regarding the issue of Tigris and Euphrates Rivers water: the report points out that the international law controls the process of utilizing the international rivers among countries on the beach since treaties and agreements have been concluded among countries to regulate the utilization of international water. In addition, in 1963, the UN published more than 250 treaties which regulate the utilization of international water within the international silence towards Turkey’s violations against sovereignty of water security of Iraq. The report mentions that Turkey refused to sign the most important agreements which govern this field especially the usage of international waterways in non-navigational The agreement cancelled the principle of absolute sovereignty over part of the water located within the territories of the concerned countries.
  • Parties and parliamentarians situation towards the international silence and escalating the issue to the UN: the report highlights that there are number of Iraqi parties and parliamentarians have actually escalated the issue on an international level. In addition, Ankara parliamentarians were accused of launching water war against Iraq assuring that Turkey deals with Iraq according to barter principle which is water in exchange for oil.
  • Turkey uses water to achieve its ambitions in Syria and Iraq: according to the report, Turkey has implemented a number of water projects on both Tigris and Euphrates Rivers without taking permission or discussing with Iraq in accordance with rules and agreement of international law. So these projects had negative impacts on Iraq and its people. Also the Turkish water policy towards Iraq is affected by internal and external considerations in addition to regional strategies.
  • Building dams and its impact on Syria and Iraq: the report says that Iraq faces the danger of drying its historical rivers Tigris and Euphrates in addition to waste of its agricultural lands as a result of unjust dams built by Iran and Turkey and the danger of thirst, besides hunger. The project of Ilisu Dam which is supposed to be built on Tigris River in the south of Turkey raised an international controversy in which international situations and reactions varied between supporter and opposer because of the negative impacts which will not only affect Iraq and Syria but also the Arab Gulf. Moreover, Ataturk Dam will affect Syria and will expand the phenomenon of desertification and at the same time will increase the phenomenon of spread of sand dunes which will creep towards other areas in the south of the country because of climate change and frequent sand storms, in addition to the deterioration of natural pastures and decline of its production in areas near to agricultural lands and other economic impacts according to the report.

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