Under Water

copyright by Samuel Bollendorff

Water management is one of the oldest and most entrenched issues in southeast Turkey. So much so that every new government for the past 40 years has worked on a range of dam and irrigation projects, all with the objective of solving this problem. No one can deny that there have been great advances as a result of these projects. People living in remote provinces have slowly

begun to gain access to and use modern resources to update their irrigation practices in agriculture and create a better future for their children. Of course there is a price to be paid for all this transformation. Farmers are fast becoming distanced from traditional practices in order to farm more profitable crops such as cotton. It is also not possible to ignore the environmental impact of the Ilısu Dam project. This dam will leave the 1,000-year-old Hasankeyf archeological region under water, and is currently one of the most debated topics in Turkey. It appears that the sharing of the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, both of which originate in Turkey, will shape future relationships with both Syria and Iraq.

Turkey is already the world’s second largest producer of organic cotton and is aiming to be one of the world’s top 10 strongest countries by the time it celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic in 2023.