BAGHDAD (Reuters)–Iraq accused Turkey on Monday of threatening the flow of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers by building dams in violation of the rights of countries downstream.
"Turkey is violating international law by building several dams on the two rivers without taking into account rights of countries which are sharing these rivers," an Iraqi foreign ministry spokesman’said in a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency INA.
The Tigris originates in Turkey before flowing into Iraq. The Euphrates starts in Turkey and winds through Syria before entering Iraq.
Syria and Iraq say the flow from Turkey is not enough and both countries depend on the river waters for drinking–irrigation and electricity generation.
In 1996 Turkey announced a plan for its fourth dam on the Euphrates–to produce power and irrigate a large chunk of southeastern Turkey.
Syria–Iraq and Turkey have held several meetings in the past but failed to reach an agreement on water-sharing.
The Ankara and Damascus governmen’s signed a provisional agreement in 1987 under which Turkey allows the flow of 500 cubic meters per second to Syria.
The Baghdad and Ankara governmen’s are also at loggerheads over Turkey’s policy of allowing US and British jet fighters to use a Turkish base to launch surveillance missions in northern Iraq to protect Kurds from possible attacks by Baghdad.