SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 22 May 2024, Wednesday |

Iraq looks for understanding with Turkey on water issue

The Iraqi Water Resources Minister, Mahdi Rashid Al-Hamdani met the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad Ali Riza Guney late yesterday, where he expressed the desire to reach an understanding with Turkey over their shared waters.

Both the officials reviewed the issue of their shared waters. Al-Hamdani stressed on the importance of cooperation to administer the water flow in the Tigris River.

The Turkish envoy conveyed his country’s willingness to solve Iraq’s water issues and address its needs.

In June, Baghdad announced that Ankara released water in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to help address water scarcity suffered by the country.

A shortage of water due to droughts and other environmental issues has been seen throughout the region in recent years, and at times it has exacerbated political disputes between neighbouring countries.

That has particularly been the case with Turkey, which holds the vast majority of water supplies due to the two major rivers running downstream from eastern Turkey. Iraq and Syria, therefore, largely rely on that water supply, and Turkey has in previous years been accused of leveraging it to its advantage. That was seen early this year with Baghdad’s talks with Turkey over a delayed water deal.

Iran also controls the water supply to Iraq. Over the past few months, Iraq has repeatedly urged Iran to increase its water supplies to the country, but with Tehran facing its own water crisis, that proved unsuccessful.

Baghdad resorted to filing a complaint at the United Nations about Iran, in efforts to secure its water rights.