WATER ISSUE IN TURKEY-SYRIA RELATIONS: FROM TECHNICAL DISAGREEMENT TO POLITICAL DISPUTE
TÜRKİYE-SURİYE İLİŞKİLERİNDE SU SORUNU: TEKNİK UZLAŞMAZLIKTAN SİYASAL MESELEYE

Author : Özkan GÖKCAN
Number of pages : 311-331

Abstract

This study aims to analyze how the water issue has played a role in the course of Turkey-Syria relations over the past 60 years. The main assumption of the study is that the water issue, which emerged as a subject of technical disagreement in the 1960s, became a political dispute in parallel with the Syrian government's use of the PKK as political leverage against Turkey in the 1980s. The water issue has been an issue shaped throughout the 1960s and 1970s around how to exploit the waters of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Since the 1980s, it is possible to say that the water issue has started to gain a political character due to the PKK factor. The political, economic and logistical support provided by the Syrian government to PKK activities led to the water issue being on the agenda as a political dispute throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Although the Syrian government's support for PKK activities officially ended with the Adana agreement signed on October 20, 1998, the water issue remained on the agenda as a political subject. In the 2000s, the water issue began to be addressed not as a conflict issue but as an issue that would contribute to building cooperation between the two countries. However, the Syrian Civil War that began in 2011 led to a period of uncertainty in which planned projects were on the shelf.

Keywords

Turkey, Syria, Water Conflict, PKK

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