ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqis need not worry as Turkey will provide a “sufficient” amount of water to the Tigris River, the country’s ambassador to Baghdad said on Tuesday.
Although he did not elaborate, Turkey’s ambassador to Iraq Fatih Yildiz said his country would release “sufficient quantities of water” to the Tigris in Iraq, urging the public to remain calm.
His comments come after Turkey began filling a reservoir behind the Ilisu Dam on June 1, causing a shortage in water supplies and panic among people in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.
The effects of the Turkish dam filling caused a significant reduction of water levels in the Tigris River in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, Mosul, and in the marshlands of southern Iraq, raising fears of drought which would affect the country’s livestock and agriculture.
According to Iraqi Minister of Water Resources Hassan al-Janabi on Sunday, Iraq had an agreement with Turkey regarding the amount of water stored in the dam and the quantity to be released.
He also revealed that an Iraqi delegation would visit Turkey soon to discuss the matter with Turkish officials.
In a tweet on Sunday, Yildiz said he was aware of concerns expressed by “the Iraqi people and friends,” and promised to take their worries to Ankara.
He noted that his country would not make any decisions without first conferring with Iraq, adding Turkey had cooperated and communicated with Iraq in the past and had consulted Baghdad before filling the Ilisu Dam.
Meanwhile, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources on Saturday said Iran had deliberately cut water flow to the Lower Zab River in the Kurdistan Region town of Qaladze in Sulaimani Province.
Iran’s representative in Sulaimani responded by offering assurances that Tehran would address concerns regarding the restricted water flow to Kurdistan.