• Baghdad

  • Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 7:20 PM
    Last Update : Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 7:29 PM

Iraqi Parliamentarians Won’t Rule Out Reducing Trade Ties with Turkey Over Water Dispute

(Arab World Press) - The Iraqi parliament’s Agriculture, Water and Marshes Committee has called for suspending trade with Turkey over its “lack of cooperation on the water issue.”

According to the head of the committee, MP Faleh al-Khazali, “the Turkish side is not responding or cooperating on the water issue and increasing releases [of pumped water] to Iraq, which prompted the committee to demand the suspension of trade relations with Ankara.”

Sabah al-Baydani, advisor to the committee, said, “All options are on the table, and they represent the will of the people and the voice of the affected communities. The Chairman of the Committee, in his capacity as head of the Agriculture Committee, considers this matter to be one of the topics that are always raised at the level of the legislative authority.”

He explained, “We have not seen any cooperation from the Turkish side on the issue of water. We, as a specialised committee, suffer from this issue and have representation in the negotiating committees. In fact, the Turkish side has spared no effort in acquiring the feeding areas that feed the Tigris and Euphrates, especially after the construction of the Ilisu dam, which has eliminated more than 50% of the Tigris resources we depend on.”

Suzan Kocher, a member of the committee, said that no definitive agreements had been reached to increase the water releases to Iraq consistently, without fluctuating from one period to another.

Hussein Mardan, another member of the Agriculture, Water and Marshes Committee, said that Turkey has not honoured the two countries’ agreements regarding the amount of water pumped into Iraq.

He said, “There are many agreements with Turkey, but unfortunately, we see that many of them have not been implemented, and the issue of water is a complex one. Many committees, the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Water Resources and others, as well as the relevant committees in the Agriculture, Water and Marshes Committee agree on the amount of water that is pumped or sent from Turkey, but unfortunately, Turkey has not committed to these amounts.”

“A few days ago, the [Turkish] ambassador visited us, and we talked to him about many important matters related to this file and these problems. We also talked about the issue of dams and their increasing numbers on the border. What are the reasons for building them? Is it containment? Cutting off water to Iraq?”

The MP concluded, “Some agreements are now in place, and many things have been clarified. God willing, in the coming days, and according to the promises made by the ambassador and the relevant committees, Turkey will cooperate well.”