Term Project Outline
CE 394K Surface Water Hydrology
University of Texas at Austin
Southeastern Anatolian Project
by Sandra Akmansoy
Turkey has just completed the Ataturk Dam and Hydroelectric Plant, the sixth largest in the world. This
is the start of a Turkish project called the GAP, the Southeastern Anatolian Project, which includes the
construction of 20 more dams by the year 2005. This project will increase Turkey's agricultural
production by fifty percent. Iraq and Syria have already formed complaints at the United Nations arguing
that they have ancestral rights to the water in the Tigris and Euphrates; Iraq has even gone as far as
threatening Turkey with war.
"Turkey believes that an equitable, rational and optimum utilization of water resources can be achieved
through a scientific study which will determine the true water needs of each country" explained a Foreign
Ministry spokesman. Since I will be working on this project for two classes, I have the opportunity to
really go in depth on this project. The following are my three main objectives.
The last topic will be addressed using GIS to show the flow in the Euphrates and Tigris during
the different seasons. If I can find the necessary data, I also want to use GIS to show the flow in
the Euphrates and Tigris before and after the Ataturk Dam was built.
The first two objectives will be addressed by taking into account treaties, customs, general
principles of law , and laws made by the International Court of Justice.
- Determine if there are any legal precedents for each country's claims to the water rights . And are there any pre-established laws that can fairly put an end to this dispute?
- Considering the fact that Turkey plans to use only 35% of the total water flow in the Tigris and
Euphrates, while 88.7% of it originates in Turkey, is this conflict really a water rights issue or a
symptom of deeper historical issue on land and oil? And, will the new Islamic Turkish government
affect the outcome of this conflict?
- Determine if Turkey is correct in stating that even with the future dams, there will be enough
flow in the Euphrates and Tigris to satisfy Iraq's and Syria's needs?
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