Turkey has appointed former Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu as a special envoy to Iraq to resolve the water sharing issues between the two countries. During a press conference with the Iraqi President Barham Salih last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said there were serious water management problems between Iraq and Turkey but some necessary steps could solve the issues within a couple of years. Erdoğan said that he would send a special envoy to Iraq to talk with officials and take the necessary steps.
The Iraqi president said: “We do not want water sharing issues to remain a source of problems between the two countries,” and added that Erdoğan’s move to appoint a special envoy would be a significant step toward solving the issue.
Speaking on his agenda, former minister Eroğlu said that Turkey will strive to ensure an equitable share of water from the Tigris and the Euphrates. The special envoy stressed that a delegation, consisting of representatives from the forestry, foreign affairs and energy ministries have already been formed and a working group to focus on the issue will be established soon. He noted that a similar working group will also be formed in Iraq.
He pointed to the inefficient use of water resources in Iraq. “Turkey will share its experience and know-how in the efficient management of water with the Iraqis, he added.
Drought and low precipitation have been a significant problem in Iraq. Last summer, farmers and citizens in the areas of Salahiya, Mhanawiya and al-Shamiya in Diwaniyah province and Basra province protested declining water-related services and the Agriculture Ministry’s decision to ban the planting of rice, white and yellow corn, sesame, cotton, millet and sunflower seeds.