Syria and Turkey in Water Diplomacy (1962–2003)

  • Marwa Daoudy


The complexity of water as a multi-dimensional strategic resource has been extensively highlighted in recent years. Its vital importance is exacerbated in arid and semi-arid regions such as the Middle East. In the case of Syria and Turkey, and at the core of the political and strategic interaction, lie the Euphrates and Tigris waters — the famous Al Furat and Dijleh (Arabic) or Firat and Dicle (Turkish) Rivers. Both rivers have seen the rise of ancient civilizations and the early development of irrigation practices dating back to the Sumerian and Akkadian periods (4000–5000 BC). Meetings have taken place, information on both sides has been exchanged over more than forty years, and experts have established a water-related modus vivendi based on bilateral agreements. This relationship has evolved over the years depending on the regional context, the strategies that were deployed and the link between the water dispute and wider strategic issues. Our purpose will be to analyze bilateral dynamics while highlighting context-related linkages and the importance of water for each actor. We will consider the core problem (the disputed sharing of common water resources in the Euphrates Basin) through the optic of Syria and Turkey’s historical and political interaction, within a range between cooperation and non-cooperation. The minutes of proceedings of the negotiation rounds held between 1962 and 1993 —which have been gathered from the Syrian part-will serve as primary sources for the analysis of face-to-face official positions and exchange of information. These documents constitute an important source of information since they were not formulated in order to sway public opinion, and since their validity has been confirmed by the signature of Turkish negotiators at the time.


Middle East Bilateral Agreement Downstream Country Treaty Series International Watercourse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marwa Daoudy
    • 1
  1. 1.Development Studies DepartmentSchool of Oriental and African StudiesLondonUK

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