The issue of management of the waters of the Euphrates and Tigris Basin in international context

Sağsen, İlhan
The main argument of this thesis is that Turkey, Syria and Iraq can solve their disagreements about water allocation, if these countries can develop broader cooperation framework comprising other water related development sectors such as energy, agriculture, health, environment industry, trade and transportation. Within this context, the key questions that should be raised are, “what is the theoretical framework related to solving water issue, what are the relations and developments among the riparians concerning water problem, can the cooperative cases such as the Nile Basin Initiative and the South African Development Community be example for the cooperative efforts in the Euphrates-Tigris River Basin, how have the political and economic relations developed since the 1990s among the riparian countries of the Euphrates-Tigris river basin?” Accordingly the thesis contains four main parts. The first chapter will be setting of a theoretical framework related to solving the water problem in the region. In the second part of the study, water problem among Turkey, Iraq and Syria will be evaluated in general through historical analysis of the water negotiations and positions of the riparians. In the third part, basic approach in studying this subject is to draw lessons from cooperative cases such as the Nile Basin Initiative and the South African Development Community. The last chapter will be the analyses of Turkish-Syrian and Turkish-Iraqi relations focusing on the water related development sectors such as energy, agriculture, industry, trade, transportation, health, and environment. Accordingly, this thesis has reached to the following conclusions: First, Water is a vital resourses for Turkey, Syria and Iraq. It is not only important for the agricultural production but for hydroelectric power generation, as well. Second, from the point of view of Syria and Iraq, the main reason for this negative atmosphere among the riparians of the Euphrates and Tigris river system is indicated to be the GAP (Southeastern Anatolia Project) which was started by Turkey as a major development project and Syria and Iraq, as downstream countries, accused Turkey to hamper the future agricultural projects of both Syria and Iraq. Third, the 1998 Adana Protocol and Bashar Assad’s becoming president in the year 2000 can be regarded as the turning points of the beginning of the development in the relations between Turkey and Syria in the positive direction. The relations between Turkey and Iraq, which were nearly stopped in the Gulf War in 1991, have started to warm up after the second operation in 2003. Fourth, the developing relations carry great importance for the solution of the ongoing water problem among Turkey, Syria and Iraq.


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Citation Formats
İ. Sağsen, “The issue of management of the waters of the Euphrates and Tigris Basin in international context,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2006.