Iraqi Irrigation Minister Mohamoud Diyab Al Ahmad has urged Turkey to resume talks aimed at reaching a water-sharing agreement and accused Ankara of threatening the flow of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers by building dams.
The weekly Sawt Al Talaba (Students' Voice) quoted Ahmad as pressing Turkey to “resume talks with Iraq and Syria to set up just quotas of the waters they share.”
The Euphrates and Tigris both originate in Turkey. The Euphrates winds through Syria before entering Iraq, while the Tigris flows straight into Iraq from Turkey.
Iraqi protests have grown since 1996 when Turkey announced a $1.62 billion plan for its fourth dam on the Euphrates to produce power and irrigation for a big area of southeast Turkey.
Baghdad and Damascus say the current flow of water from Turkey is not enough. Both countries depend largely on the Euphrates and Tigris for drinking water, irrigation and power generation.
“Since the beginning of the 1960s, Turkey has began to benefit from the waters of the two rivers without taking into consideration Iraq's solid rights,” Ahmad said.
According to Iraqi and United Nations officials Iraq suffers from the worst drought this century, exacerbated by international sanctions.
Iraq, Turkey and Syria have held several meetings in the past but failed to clinch an agreement on water sharing. — ( Jordan Times )
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )