Advertisement

Turkey’s Water Policy in the Euphrates-Tigris Basin

  • Özden Zeynep OktavEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

When looking generally, fresh water resource issue has been defined from geopolitical point of view which mostly disregards human factors. However, since the 1990s, water scarcity issue has been evaluated in terms of human security which reconceptualizes security so as to integrate non-military threats like factors of human development. The increasing number of publications about water-security nexus urges us to understand whether the countries resort to conflictual methods to meet their water needs or prefer cooperative relations. Turkey’s water policy and its impact on bilateral relations with Syria and Iraq in Euphrates Tigris basin illustrate and even epitomize that water can be used both as a weapon of war during hostilities and as a source of cooperation. In an attempt to contribute to the current debate over water- interstate security nexus, this chapter will first evaluate the historical background of the relations between three countries concerning water scarcity problem, and later discuss the reasons for the rapprochement between Turkey-Syria and Iraq which led to an unprecedented cooperative relations in dealing with water scarcity with the beginning of the twenty first century. Lastly, Syria’s civil war will be analyzed as a case study to understand whether water scarcity can be a source of intrastate conflict, and at the same time of cooperative relations between Turkey and Syria even in the midst of the crisis. In addition, the worsening water scarcity issue in parallel with the sectarian based war in Iraq – which has been exacerbated by the Syrian crisis and the advance of the Sunni Jihadist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) – Iraq’s Sunni insurgency will be the other concerns of the study.

Keywords

Human security Water scarcity Syrian civil war Turkey Iraq 

References

  1. Akıncı, B. (2004, December 23). Newly found friendship between Turkey and Syria. Retrieved from Middle East Online: http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=12236
  2. Al Jazeerah. (2004, January 6). Al-Asad in landmark visit to Turkey. Retrieved from Al Jazeerah: http://www.aljazeera.com/archive/2004/01/20084916735833513.html
  3. Ayhan, V. (2009). Türkiye-Suriye İlişkilerinde Yeni Bir Dönem:Yüksek Düzeyli Stratejik İşbirliği Konseyi. Ortadoğu Analiz, 11, 27.Google Scholar
  4. Beck, A. (2014). Drought, dams, and survival: Linking water to conflict and cooperation in Syria’s civil war. International Affairs Forum, 5, 11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burgess, J. P., Owen, T., & Sinha, U. K. (2013). Human securitization of water? A case study of the Indus waters basin. Cambridge Review of International Affairs.Google Scholar
  6. Chaturvedi, S. (1998). Common security? Geopolitics, development, South Asia and the Indian ocean. Third World Quarterly, 19, 701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clughton, R. (2011, October 26). A water crisis awaits Iraq. Retrieved from Independent Blogs: http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2011/10/26/a-water-crisis-awaits-iraq/
  8. CNN Turk. (2009, September 3). Turkey, Iraq and Syria in water crisis summit. Retrieved from CNN Turk: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/09/03/turkey.water.shortage/
  9. Cumhuriyet. (2011, August 21). Cumhuriyet, GAP’a Komşu İlgisi (The ineterst of Neighbor in GAP).Google Scholar
  10. Dalar, M. (2010). The effects of the river orontes on Turkey-Syria relations. Ortadoğu Analiz, 2, 15.Google Scholar
  11. Dinçer, O. B. (2013, June 27). Syrian refugees in Turkey: The limits of an open door policy. Brookings Institute. Google Scholar
  12. Dolatyar, M., & Gray, T. S. (2000). Water politics in the Middle East. New York: St. Martin’s Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Femia, F., & Werrell, C. (2012, February 29). Syria: Climate change, drought and social unrest. The Center for Climate and Security. Retrieved from http://climateandsecurity.org/2012/02/29/syriaclimate-change-drought-and-social-unrest/
  14. Femia, F., & Werrell, C. E. (2013). Climate change before and after the Arab awakening: The cases Syria and Libya. In C. E. Werrell & F. Femia (Eds.), The Arab spring and climate change. Stimson: The Center for Climate and Security.Google Scholar
  15. Gleick, P. H. (1990) Environment, Resources, and International Security and Politics. In Arnett, Science and International Security: Responding to a Changing World. Washington DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.Google Scholar
  16. Gleick, P. H. (1993). Water and conflict: Fresh water resources and international security. International Security, 18(1).Google Scholar
  17. Gleick, P.H. (2013, June 10). Syria, water, climate change, and violent conflict. Retrieved from http://scienceblogs.com/significantfigures/index.php/2013/06/10/syria-water-climate-change-and-violent-conflict/
  18. Gleick, P. H. (2014, July). Water, drought, climate change, and conflict in Syria. Weather, Climate, and Society (forthcoming issue). Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1175/WCAS-D-13-00059.1
  19. Güner, S. (1997). The Turkish-Syrian war of attrition: The water dispute. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 20(1), 105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hamza, M. (2014, June 24). Iraq: Tribal forces brace for ISIS advance on Haditha Dam. Retrieved from http://www.aawsat.net/2014/06/article55333605
  21. Houdret, A. (2004, September 8–11). Water as a security concern – conflict or cooperation? The 5th Pan-European Conference of International Relations. The Hague. Retrieved from http://inef.uni-due.de/page/documents/Houdret_water_IR_DenHague.pdf
  22. Iraq Business News. (2009, December 14). COSIT: Unemployment and poverty drop in Iraq. Retrieved from Iraq Business News: http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2009/12/14/cosit-unemployment-and-poverty-drop-in-iraq/
  23. Jongerden, J. (2010). Dams and politics in Turkey, utilizing water developing conflict. Middle East Policy, 27(1). Retrieved from http://mepc.org/journal/middle-east-policy-archives/dams-and-politics-turkey-utilizing-water-developing-conflict
  24. Kazem, M. A., & Osman, K. (1998). Conflicting claims to Euphrate water muddy Syrian-Turkish relations. Retrieved from http://www.muslimmedia.com.archivesAvorld98/euphrate.htm
  25. Kibaroğlu, A. (2010a). Water allocation agreement between Syria and Iraq: The Protocol of 1990. Retrieved from http://www.gap.metu.edu.tr/html/yayinlar/waterforsustainableAKibaroglu.pdf
  26. Kibaroglu, A. (2010b). Water for sustainable development in the Euphrates-Tigris basin. Middle East Technical University Publications. Retrieved from http://www.gap.metu.edu.tr/html/yayinlar/waterforsustainableAKibaroglu.pdf
  27. Kibaroglu, A., & Scheumann, W. (2013). Evolution of transboundary politics in the Euphrates- Tigris river system: New perspectives and political challenges. Global Governance, 19(2), 279.Google Scholar
  28. Kibaroğlu, A., Scheumann, W., & Kramer, A. (2011). Turkey’s water policy, national frameworks and international cooperation. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  29. Kliot, N. (2000). Water resources and conflict in the Middle East. London/NewYork: Routledge, 1994. In M. Dolatyar, & T. S. Gray (Eds.), Politics in the Middle East. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  30. Kut, G., & Turan, İ. (1997). Political-ideological constraints on intra-basin cooperation on transboundary waters. Natural Forces Forum, 21, 139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Landis, J. (2009). Turkey says more water for Iraq, Syria is unlikely. Syria Comment. Retrieved from: http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/turkey-says-more-water-for-iraq-syria-is-unlikely/
  32. Maden, T. E. (2012, August). Kriz Dönemlerinde Su Politikaları: Türkiye-Suriye, (Water Policies during the Crisis Periods: Turkey-Syria). Ortadoğu Analiz, 4(44).Google Scholar
  33. Milliyet. (2013, May 12). Reyhanlı’da Katliam 43 Ölü [The Massacre in Reyhanlı 43 Deads]. Retrieved from Milliyet:Türkiye’nin prestij Projeleri Milli Ekonomiye Yılda 10.8 Milyar Dolar Katkı Sağlayacak, Milliyet January 3, 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.milliyet.com.tr/turkiye-nin-prestij-projeleri-milli-ankara-yerelhaber-552136/
  34. Milliyet. (2014, July 4). Türkiye Frat’ı Kesti Köyler Susuz Kaldı [Turkey’s Control of Euphrates might Lead to a Disaster]. Retrieved from Milliyet: http://www.milliyet.com.tr/turkiye-firat-i-kesti-koyler-susuz/dunya/detay/1906706/default.htm
  35. Mills, R. (2012, August 21). Long drought that helped to spark an uprising in Syria. Retrieved from The National: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/energy/long-drought-that-helped-to-spark-an-uprising-in-syria
  36. Ministry of Development. (2012). Türkiye Cumhuriyeti kalkınma Bakanlığı GAP Bölge Kalkınma İdaresi Başkanlığı [Republic of Turkey Ministry of Development]. Retrieved from: http://www.gap.gov.tr/site-icerik/gap_nedir.aspx
  37. Ministry of Foreign Policy. (2012). Turkey-Syria relations. Retrieved from: http://www.mfa.gov.tr/turkiye-suriye-siyasi-iliskileri-.tr.mfa
  38. News, A. (2014, June 6). UN warns food shortages in Iraq. Retrieved from Albawaba News: http://www.albawaba.com/news/food-shortages-iraq-586250
  39. Ntvmsnbc. (2009, September 18). Turkiye-Irak Iliskilerinde Devrim [Revolution in Turkey-Iraq relations]. Retrieved from http://www.ntvmsnbc.com/id/25001834/18
  40. Oktav, Ö. Z. (2001). A thorny issue between Turkey and the United States: Northern Iraq (1996–2001). Turkish Review of Middle East Studies, 12.Google Scholar
  41. Oktav, Ö. Z. (2003). Water dispute and Kurdish separatism in Turkish Syrian relations. Turkish Yearbook of International Relations Milletlerarası Münasebetler Yıllığı, 34, 91.Google Scholar
  42. Oktav, Ö. Z. (2009). Transition from Enmity to ‘Common Fate’ Rhetoric: Water Issue in Turkish-Iraqi-Syrian Relations. Turkish Yearbook of International Relations Milletlerarası Münasebetler Yıllığı,40, 71.Google Scholar
  43. Oktav, Ö. Z. (2011). Regionalism or shift of axis? Turkish-Syrian-Iranian relations. In Ö. Z. Oktav (Ed.), Turkey in the 21st century quest for a new Turkish foreign policy. Aldershot: Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  44. Oktav, Ö. Z. (2015). The Syrian civil war and Turkey-Syria-Iran relations. In The view from without: Syria & its neighbours. St Andrews University Publication, 2.Google Scholar
  45. ORSAM Water Research Programme. (2011, March 21–27). ORSAM Water Bulletin, 1(16).Google Scholar
  46. Quarrie, P. M. (2004). Water security in the Middle East, growing conflict over development of the Euphrates-Tigris basin. Retrieved from http://www.transboundarywaters.orst.edu/publications/abst_docs/related_research/MacQuarrie2004.pdf
  47. Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (2014). Retrieved from Relations between Turkey and Syria: http://www.mfa.gov.tr/relations-between-turkey%E2%80%93syria.en.mfa
  48. Richards, A., & Waterbury, J. (1990). A political economy of the Middle East. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  49. Rubin, A. J., & Nordland, R. (2014, June 25). Sunni Militants advance toward large Iraqi dam. Retrieved from New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/world/middleeast/isis-iraq.html?_r=0
  50. Saab, B. Y. (2009, May 6). Syria and Turkey deepen bilateral relations. Retrieved from New York Times http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/2009/05/06-syria-turkey-saab
  51. Saad, H., & Gladstone, R. (2013, February 11). Syrian insurgents claim to control large Hydropower Dam. Retrieved from New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/world/middleeast/syrian-insurgents-claim-to-control-large-hydropower-dam.html?_r=0
  52. Shuval, H. (2007). Meeting vital human needs: Eqitable resolution of conflicts over shared water resources of israelis and palestinians. In H. Shuvak & H. Dweik (Eds.), Water resources in the Middle East Israel-palestinian water issues from conflict to cooperation (p. 8). NewYork: Springer.Google Scholar
  53. The South Eastern Project Digital Leaflet. (2011). DSİ. http://www2.dsi.gov.tr/dijital/gap-brosur/index.html#/4/
  54. Tickner, A. (1995). Re-visioning security. In K. Booth & S. Smith (Eds.), International relations theory today. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Todays Zaman. (2008, March 12). Turkey, Iraq, Syria, to initiate water talks. Retrieved from Today’s Zaman: http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail.action;jsessionid=OfvBflP3-PG55oNYY43eoO4C?newsId=136183andcolumnistId=0
  56. Today’s Zaman. (2009, December 24). PM vows to build model partnership with Syria. Retrieved from Today’s Zaman: http://www.todayszaman.com/diplomacy_pm-vows-to-build-model-partnership-with-syria_196473.html
  57. Todays Zaman. (2011, November 18). Turkey rules out cutting water flow to Syria. Retrieved from Todays Zaman:http://www.todayszaman.com/diplomacy_turkey-rules-out-cutting-water-flow-to-syria_263173.html
  58. Todays Zaman. (2012, July 15). Turkish-Syrian friendship ends but ‘Friendship Dam Project’ still under way. Retrieved from Todays Zaman: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-286527-turkish-syrian-friendship-ends-but-friendship-dam-project-still-under-way.html
  59. Turan, İ. (2011). The water dimension in Turkish foreign policy. In A. Kibaroğlu, W. Scheumann, & A. Kramer (Eds.), Turkey’s water policy, national frameworks and international cooperation. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  60. Ullman, R. (1983). Redefining security. International Security, 8, 129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. UNEP. (2009). From conflict to peacebuilding, the role of natural resources and the environment. Nairobi: The United Nations Environment Programme. http://www.unep.org/Themes/Freshwater/PDF/FromConflict_to_Peacbuilding.pdf
  62. Usher, S. (2013, October 15). Clerics rule beseiged Damascus residents may eat dogs. Retrieved from BBC News Middle East: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24532793
  63. Vemuri, V. (2011, January). Middle East-Turkey and Iraq, partners in so many ways struggling over waters of Tigris and Euphrates. Retrieved from Onewater: http://www.onewater.org/stories/story/middle_east
  64. Wieland, C. (2013). Assad’s decade of lost chances. In C. Wieland, A. Almqvist, & H. Nassif (Eds.), The Syrian uprising: Dynamics of an insurgency. Fife: University of St. Andrews Centre for Syrian Studies.Google Scholar
  65. Wolf, A. T. (1995). Hydropolitics along the Jordan river: Scarce water and its impact on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Tokyo: The United Nations University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Worth, R. F. (2010, October 13). Earth is parched where Syrian farms thrived. The New York Times. Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/14/world/middleeast/14syria.html?_ r=2andadxnnl=1andadxnnlx=1330449407-yAiPXrD1kQsKb G2Bb5A61Aandpagewanted=
  67. Yoffe, S., Wolf, A. T., & Giordano, M. (2003). Conflict and cooperation over international freshwater resources: Indicators of basins at risk. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 39(5), 1109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St. Andrews UniversityScotlandUK
  2. 2.Political Science and International Relations DepartmentYıldız Technical UniversityBesiktasTurkey

Personalised recommendations