Hydro Wars: The Struggle for Water and Survival in the Euphrates-Tigris River Basin

Langer, Andrew

"Turkey’s Southeastern Anatolia Development Project (GAP) has amplified disagreements over water in an unstable region already facing water shortages. This paper argues that Turkey’s enormous and costly plan to generate electricity, improve irrigation, and redevelop its southeastern region under the GAP has failed. I will examine this “hydropolitical security complex,” as Michael Schulz describes it, by focusing on the effects of the GAP, Turkey-Syria relations, and Syria’s support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) since the 1980s (Schulz 91). Relations between Turkey and Iraq have also been affected by the GAP, but additionally by the recent Gulf War and U.S. involvement in the region, and a discussion of Turkey-Iraq relations is beyond the scope of this paper. The structure of this text is as follows: first, a discussion of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers themselves; second, the importance of water to the Middle East in general and to Turkey, Syria, and Iraq specifically; third, a look at the GAP and several of its dams; fourth, the effects of the GAP project; fifth, Turkey-Syria relations and the interplay between water and the PKK; and finally, the future of Turkey-Syria relations and the steps that must be taken in order to prevent a war over water."--from page 2

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The Journal of Politics and Society

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Helvidius Group
Helvidius Group of Columbia University
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February 12, 2014