World Bulletin / News Desk
In an attempt to disprove the thesis of “water wars,” Turkey has engaged in projects to cooperate with its neighbors on building dams over rivers that traverse its borders, government officials say.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, those officials told Cihan news agency, that Turkey plans to build 18 dams on its borders with Iraq, Syria, Iran, Georgia, Bulgaria and Greece. The foundation for the first dam is to be laid on Jan. 31. When the projects are completed, Turkey will have joint dams with all its neighbors except Armenia.
All the preparatory work on a project to construct a dam on the Orontes River, known as the Asi River in Turkish, which flows from Syria to Turkey, has recently been completed. The foundation laying for the dam will be on Jan. 31 in a ceremony to be attended by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The dam is evidence of growing ties between the two neighbors.
The two countries decided to construct the dam in 2005. Work on the foundation was scheduled to start by the end of 2010; however, due to disagreements on technical matters, the launch of the project was postponed until the beginning of this year. Turkish and Syrian authorities believe the project will also end speculation that the depletion of water resources might bring the two countries to the brink of war and that it will result in far-reaching positive effects in the long run. In the past, floods crippled agricultural production in the Amuq Valley in southern Turkey. Flood prevention is a major challenge for farmers on both sides of the border, and building this dam will benefit both countries.
Turkey also plans to complete the Ilısu Dam on the Tigris River in the near future. The construction of the Ilısu Dam began in 2006. The project, one of the largest undertakings of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP), aims to generate hydroelectricity using the waters of the Tigris. Syria has objected to the construction of the dam in the past but is now pleased with the project, believing that it will end its problem with water shortages in the summer months.
Turkey also plans to construct 14 dams on its frontier with Iraq. Most of the dams will be built on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. The dams will not only provide water and electricity for Turkey and Iraq but will also help prevent the infiltration of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists into Turkey.
In 2007, Turkey decided to construct 33 dams along its border with Iraq. However, it scaled back the number to 14 in order to reduce spending. The construction of 11 of the dams started in 2011, and Turkey plans to complete all 14 dams by 2012.
Tripartite meeting for dams in western Thrace
The prime ministers of Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria are expected to hold a meeting in March to discuss the construction of dams along their borders. The meeting will be held in Edirne.
Thanks to the dams, floods from the Maritsa River will no longer prove a disaster for farmers in the three countries.
Turkey and Bulgaria decided to build a dam on the Tunca River in an agreement they signed in 2006. With the dam, the two countries would prevent floods stemming from the river. However, the construction of the dam has not yet started due to reasons stemming from the Bulgarian side. Turkey hopes to step up efforts for the dam in the coming months.
With the Suakacağı Dam along the Turkish-Greek border, around 15,000 acres of agricultural land will be protected from flash floods, and the need for water both in the western part of Turkey and Greece will be met.
The remaining dams will be constructed along the Turkish border with Iran and Georgia. The dam along the Turkish-Iranian border will be built on the Aras River. Most of the dam will be constructed on the territories of Iran due to the geographical challenges on the Turkish side. The environment and energy ministers of both countries have agreed on the construction of thermal and hydroelectricity power plants on the planned dam. The plants are expected to generate 16,000 megawatts of electricity each month.
The dam between Turkey and Georgia is planned to be constructed on the Kura River. Turkey and Georgia agreed on cooperation in the energy field in 2007 and decided to build the dam in November 2010. Electricity to be generated by a hydroelectric power plant to be constructed on the dam will be shared by the two countries.
Turkey launches 18 dam projects with six neighbors
When the projects are completed, Turkey will have joint dams with all its neighbors except Armenia.
World Bulletin / News Desk
"Turkey is building 14 dams on the Iraqi frontier". It sounds like great news but is Turkey coordinating this effort with Iraq as required by International law. Iraq and actually Syria (over 300,000 Syrians left the Euphrates and became refugess in Damascus and coast cities) as well are suffering from water shortages on Euphrates and Tigris due to the intensive damming on he Turkish side. This article is one-sided and should have highlighted the consequences of these dams on the Iraqi people.