Turkish dam won’t impact Iraq’s water supply: Diplomat

The accumulation of water at a Turkish dam located on the Tigris River will not adversely affect Iraq's water supply, Turkish Ambassador to Baghdad Fatih Yildiz said Wednesday.

At a press conference held in the Iraqi capital, Yildiz said that the filling up of a reservoir associated with Turkey's Ilisu Dam -- a process that began last week -- would take approximately one year.

He went on to stress, however, that Iraq's water supply would not be impacted by the move.

According to Yildiz, Turkey seeks to safeguard the regional water supply and is coordinating closely with Baghdad in this regard.

In May, Baghdad and Ankara signed an agreement specifying the quantities of water that would emanate from the dam.

When we begin holding water at the Ilisu Dam, this doesn't mean the water supply will be cut off, Yildiz said.

Under the terms of the May agreement, he explained, much of the water will continue to go to Iraq.

Yildiz also said Turkey would not take any significant steps in regard to the dam without first consulting neighboring countries.

We are taking joint -- not unilateral -- steps, as the water belongs to all the riparian states, he said.

The ambassador further explained that the Ilisu Dam was not intended for irrigation but for electricity production.

He also dismissed claims that the project would take five years to complete, saying the dam would be ready to generate electricity in less than 12 months.

Regarding the Tigris River's falling water levels, Yildiz said this was nothing new, citing unusually low rainfall in the region over the past year.

It is unreasonable to link falling water levels to the water accumulation [at the dam] that began last Friday, he said.

There is no direct correlation,

Source: Anadolu Agency