Report blames Turkey for ’unfair’ water share with Iraq

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News | 6/3/2011 FULYA ÖZERKAN

A report recently submitted to a United Nations committee has blamed Turkey for its failure to conclude an agreement with neighboring Iraq on a ’fair and equitable sharing of the water.’

A report recently submitted to a United Nations committee has blamed Turkey for its failure to conclude an agreement with neighboring Iraq on a “fair and equitable sharing of the water.”

The 38-page criticism-laden report compiled by nongovernmental organizations and initiatives in Turkey and Europe was submitted to the U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights last month. It comes after Iraq slammed Turkey’s water policy and called for an agreement to regulate water share.

“The state party [has] also failed to fulfill its extraterritorial obligations in respecting the right to food and water in Iraq, where hundreds and thousands of farmers will be affected by construction of the Ilısu dam,” said the report, which comes on the heels of similar other reports in February and March calling for cooperation between opposing camps in the region in the face of alarming water shortages in the Middle East.

Iraq and Syria often complain that Turkey is monopolizing the waters of the rivers Euphrates and Tigris through a series of dams built on both rivers.

Baghdad attempted to insert an article over the share of water into an agreement of the Turkish-Iraqi high-level strategic council, a mechanism established as part of the government’s policy of zero problems with neighbors, a Turkish Foreign Ministry diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News.

“Whenever summer comes and the need for water arises, Iraq is singing the same tune,” said the source, denying any unfairness on the share of water from the two rivers.

The report also criticizes Turkey’s dam policy and says it is one of the major dam-building countries of the world, with the intention of building over 1,700 dams and hydro-electric power plants in addition to over 2,000 existing ones.

Turkish legislation displays significant deficiencies in fulfilling the rights covered by international guidelines designed to prevent human rights violations brought about by development and infrastructure projects, the report said

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