Turkey’s Water Policy in the Euphrates-Tigris Basin

  • Özden Zeynep OktavEmail author


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.


Human security Water scarcity Syrian civil war Turkey Iraq 


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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

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