The impact of the water problem on Turkish relations with the countries downstream of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers


  • Bosken Saleem Faculty of Political Sciences and International Relations/University of Algiers
  • Angham Adel Habib Al-Azzawi College of Law/Al-Turath University/Baghdad/Iraq



crisis, water crisis, water wars, Middle East, Turkish strategy


Water forms the focus of political geography at every stage of history and in every region of the world, and it is the basis of civilizational interactions, conflicts, and external interventions. In the early twenty-first century, the issue of water turned into a hot and central issue in international politics and regional conflicts. The international environment witnessed and continues to witness many problems, most notably water scarcity, as it is in the Middle East region, where American expert Thomas Naff says: “Water in the Middle East is an economic, political and social issue, and it extends to becoming a potential source of conflict, which makes it have a military dimension.” The issue of water in the Middle East region is considered of great importance, especially in Iraq and Syria, because they are greatly affected by what Turkey determines about the amount of water flowing to them. The Turkish water strategy aims to benefit from the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to the maximum extent, by exploiting the waters of the two rivers in the future by continuing to build dams and projects, and Turkey seeks to achieve its dream of becoming a pivotal and regionally dominant country, and thus this will affect the relations between Turkey and both Syria and Iraq in the future, according to what this strategy will lead to.


(1) Haitham Al-Kilani, The issue of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers between Turkey, Syria and Iraq, Proceedings of the Third Annual Conference, Arab Waters and the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century, Center for Future Studies, Assiut University, Egypt, 1998.

(2) Ahmed Al-Rashidi and others, Water Problems in the Arab World, Center for Arab Research and Studies, Cairo, 1994.

(3) Qabas Natiq Muhammad, Turkey and the Water War, Political Science Journal, No. 10, Fourth Year, University of Baghdad, 1993.

(4) Majid Dawoud, The Water Issue and Relations with Neighborhoods, International Information, Issue 5, Damascus, 1998.

(5) Ali Ghaleb Abdel Khaleq, The Euphrates River, Current and Future Projects in the Upstream Countries and Their Impact on the Water Supply in Iraq, Arab Researcher Magazine, Issue 4, London, 1990.

(6) Afif Al-Rawi, The Water Problem in Turkey, Higher Institute of National and Socialist Studies, Al-Mustansiriya University, Second Seminar, Turkey’s Present and Future, printed in RONEO, Baghdad.

(7) Khalil Ibrahim Al-Nasiri, Contemporary Developments in Arab-Turkish Relations, Arab Encyclopedia House, Baghdad, 1990.

(8) Sabih Bashir Azab Jabr Al-Shammari, The impact of the European change on Turkey’s foreign policy towards the Arab world for the period 1954-2002, Master’s thesis, Higher Institute of Political and International Studies, Al-Mustansiriya University, 2003.

(9) Hamed Sultan, International Rivers in the Arab World, Egyptian Journal of International Law, No. 22, Cairo, 1966.

(10) Magdy Sobhi, The Water Problem in the Region and Multilateral Negotiations, Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Strategic Studies, Issue 7, Cairo, 1992.

(11) Muhammad Jawad Ali Al-Mubarak, The impact of water on relations between countries, doctoral thesis, College of Political Science, University of Baghdad, 1994.

(12) Ezzedine Al-Khairo, The Euphrates under the Rules of International Law, Hebron Printing House, Cairo, 1975.

(13) Wafiq Hussein Al-Khashab, The International Framework for Water Resources in Iraq, Al-Ustad Magazine, Issue 15, Volume 15, College of Education, University of Baghdad, 1967-1968.

(14) Ramzi Salama, The Water Problem in the Arab World - Possibilities for Conflict and Settlement, Mansha’at Al Maaref, Cairo, 2001.

(15) Intisar Mohieddin Muhammad Daoud, The Role of Water in the Arab-Turkish Conflict, Master’s Thesis in International Relations, University of Khartoum, Faculty of Social Economic Studies, Political Science Division, 2005.

(16) Fathi Ali Hussein, Water and the Cards of the Political Game in the Middle East, Madbouly Library, Cairo, 2002.

(17) Alyan Mahmoud Alian, Arab Waters from the Nile to the Euphrates, Surrounding Challenges and Danger, Center for Arab Unity Studies, Arab Future.

(18) Ali Ihsan Bagish, The Problem of Water and its Effects on Turkish-Arab Relations, Beirut, a research paper presented at the symposium (Arab-Turkish Relations, a Future Dialogue). The symposium was organized by the Center for Arab Unity Studies, 1995.

(19) Sabriyah Ahmad Lafi, Turkish Water Policy, Institute of Asian and African Studies, Turkish Studies Series No. (15), Baghdad, 1984.

(20) Dalia Ismail Muhammad, Water and International Relations, Arab Printing and Publishing, Madbouly Library, Cairo, 2006.

(21) Salman Shamran Al-Issawi, The Mesopotamian Water Crisis: Between the Ambitions of Geographical Neighborhood and International Law, Zain Legal Publications, Beirut, 2016.

(22) Naji Ali Haraj, Water in Arab-Turkish Relations, a group of authors, presented by (Mohamed Nour El-Din): Arabs and Turkey: Challenges of the Present and Bets of the Future, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Beirut, 2012.

(23) Suleiman Abdullah Ismail, the water policy of the Tigris and Euphrates basin countries and its implications for the Kurdish issue, Kurdistan Center for Strategic Studies, Sulaymaniyah, 2004.

(24) Farah Abdel Karim Muhammad, The Water Conflict between Iraq and Turkey (2003 - 2014), Master’s Thesis, Middle East University, 2014.

(25) Alaa Lafta Musa, The Waters of the Tigris and Euphrates between Iraq and Turkey, a research paper presented to the symposium of the Iraqi Center for Strategic Studies on: (The future of Turkish-Iraqi relations in light of the victory of the Turkish Justice and Development Party), 2011.

(26) Philip Robins, Turkey and the Middle East, translated by: Mikhail Najm Khoury, Dar Cordoba, Cairo, 1993.

(27) Fouad Qasim Al-Amir, The Water Budget in Iraq and the World Water Crisis, Dar Al-Ghad, Baghdad, 2010.

(28) Ahmed Nour Al-Nuaimi, Iraqi-Turkish relations, reality and future, Zahedan Publishing House, Jordan, 2010.

(29) Hassan Abdel Majeed Hamid, the Turkish Ilisu Dam and its impact on the water supply of the Tigris River in Iraq, Diyala Magazine, Issue 68, 2015, p. 69.

(30) Omar Kamel Hassan, The Middle Eastern System and its Impact on Arab Water Security, Dar Arslan for Printing, Publishing and Distribution, Syria, 2008.

(31) Maryam Tahmasbi, The Effects of Turkish Water Policy on the Tigris and Euphrates Border Rivers, an article published on the NRT website, at the electronic link: www.nrttv.cim/ar

(32) Abdul Jabbar Abdul Mustafa Al Nuaimi, Turkey’s Kurds and the dimensions of the GAP Project - a forward-looking vision in (the Kurdish issue in Turkey and its impact on neighboring countries), edited by Dr. Khalil Ali Murad and others, Center for Turkish Studies, Mosul, 1994.

(33) Raad Khaled Taghouj, The Water Variable in the Turkish Strategy (The Conflict over the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers), a study published on the Al-Hiwar Al-Mutamaddin website, at the electronic link:

(34) Muhammad Qasim Hadi Al-Mufarji, The Turkish strategic approach towards Syria after 2002, a study published in the Political and International Journal, a peer-reviewed quarterly scientific journal issued by the College of Political Science - Al-Mustansiriya University, issues (35-36), ninth year, June - August, 2017 .

(35) Kamal Abdullah Hassan, Turkey’s strategy in the Middle East after the events of September 11, 2001, Kurdistan Center for Strategic Studies, Sulaymaniyah, 2013.

Additional Files





Original research papers

How to Cite

The impact of the water problem on Turkish relations with the countries downstream of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. (2024). قضايا سياسية, 76, 511-540.

Similar Articles

1-10 of 99

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.