Baghdad asks Ankara to release more water

Baghdad asks Ankara to release more water

Baghdad asks Ankara to release more water

Iraq asked Türkiye to increase the flow of water downstream along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, as both countries face droughts and tensions over resource management.

Baghdad regularly complains that dams constructed in neighbouring countries impact its river levels.

Water Minister Mehdi al-Hamdani and the Turkish president’s special representative for Iraq, Veysel Eroğlu, discussed “quantities of water arriving in Iraq through the Tigris and Euphrates” from Türkiye, an Iraqi statement said.

Hamdani asked Türkiye via videoconference “to re-examine the amounts of water released, in order to allow Iraq to overcome the current water shortage,” it added.

Eroğlu said he would pass on the request to water authorities in Ankara to “increase the amounts of water released in the coming days, according to (Türkiye’s) available reserves,” according to the Iraqi statement. Both sides agreed that an Iraqi “technical delegation” would visit Türkiye and allowed to “evaluate Turkish dam reserves on site.”

The U.N. classifies Iraq “as the fifth most vulnerable country in the world” to climate change, having already witnessed record low rainfall and high temperatures in recent years.

The issue of managing water resources has raised tensions between Baghdad and Ankara.

On July 12, Türkiye’s ambassador to Iraq, Ali Riza Guney, sparked anger by accusing Iraqis of “squandering” water resources, calling on Twitter for “immediate measures to reduce the waste” including “the modernization of irrigation systems.”

Hamdani responded that Ankara was assuming “the right to reduce Iraq’s water quota.” Iraq has seen three years of successive droughts and has halved cultivated agricultural areas for its 42 million inhabitants.