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Water Takes Center Stage in Turkish-Iraqi Diplomacy Water Takes Center Stage in Turkish-Iraqi Diplomacy

Water Takes Center Stage in Turkish-Iraqi Diplomacy

by Siobhan O'Connor
August 15, 2009

In our last issue, we took a long hard look at the potential role water will be playing in global conflict. When we were putting together the issue, a lot of it still seemed a little hypothetical-a worst-case-scenario look at what could go wrong, while emphasizing that historically speaking, water is more often a tool for diplomacy and peace, than war. On that note comes interesting news out of Turkey, where that country is offering water to a dangerously parched Iraq in exchange for their cooperation cracking down on Kurdish rebels.This seems like a power play, and a potentially very smart one. Turkey is interested in increasing its presence in the region as well as repairing relations with its own Kurds, and, as the Christian Science Monitor reports, that has meant warmer relations with Iraq's regional Kurdish government. It has also meant Iraq's agreeing to crack down on militants:If water is Iraq's biggest bilateral issue, the separatist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) is Turkey's. [Iraqi foreign minister] Mr. Zebari told reporters Iraq was committed to clamping down on attacks by Kurdish rebels from Iraq. He announced plans for a joint cooperation center in the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Arbil in which Turkey, Iraq, and the U.S. would share intelligence aimed at stopping PKK attacks on Turkey from Iraqi soil. Here's a look at the inset of our look at water rights in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq:

The full transparency about potential water wars-which includes the area that sources water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers-is here. An excellent related story by Bill Wheeler, about water rights in India and Pakistan, is here. (Thanks, Bill!)Image via
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