Turkey’s water chokehold over Iraq, Syria and the Kurds

Throughout the recent crises in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, Turkey has increased its power to cut off crucial sources of water to the two countries and Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) autonomous region, according to the Raddington Report news web site.

Turkey’s Southeast Anatolian Project, which includes the construction of hydroelectric dams across the region, now means that Turkey can withhold an estimated half of the water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which feed to two countries.

Turkey has “effective control of the water resources of Syria and Iraq,” the article said. “The water from these rivers is not just vital for Iraq and Syria’s food and water, but important for their economies too.”

Author Ben Abbs said that showing how Turkey’s control of water resources would not only leave Iraq hungry and thirsty, but would also stifle its oil production, which needed 1.8 billion cubic metres of water to function before the rise of Islamic State.

“For this reason,” he concluded, “a lasting political resolution to the instability in Iraq and Syria would need to incorporate sustainable management of the region’s water economy.”


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