Turkey: A Dam on the Rivers of the Kurds to Make Them Die of Thirst them

By Souad Sbai

Turkey’s big dam built in Ilisu is likely to kill a piece of Iraq due to thirst. But not a random piece, as in this area the population is predominantly Kurdish. Therefore the objective seems to be more than clear. In a moment of water crisis, this means to condemn those territories to desertification.

Evidently, Turkey now believes to be immune from any kind of national or international responsibility. The climate of repression of civil rights in the country, by the will of Sultan Erdogan, is well known to all, but what Ankara is doing abroad is almost unknown. For example, in Iraq, where the big dam built in Ilisu threatens to kill a piece of the country due to thirst. But not a random piece, as in this area the population is predominantly Kurdish. Therefore, his objective seems to be more than clear.

The dam, which is about 144-meter tall, once filled will cover a width of around thirty thousand hectares, forcing the people who have lived there for decades to move to the neighboring cities.

In doing so, Erdogan is flexing his muscles. This is a show of strength that he intends to maximize very soon with the elections at the end of June, in a time when his political situation and consensus are not exactly at their peak. This is Erdogan’s goal, as exposed by the very decision to anticipate to these days the operations to fill the dam, while they were previously scheduled at the end of July.

The Sultan and his administration clearly aim to weaken even more the population, which has already been harshly affected by military attacks, massacres, forced exoduses, and the fight against jihadist terrorism.

Removing water from the Tigris and the Euphrates, amid an unprecedented water crisis, is equal to condemn those territories to desertification without a way out: this is the Iraqi government’s complaint against Ankara. But the latter does not want to take a step back and change position, even though it could knock out an entire population under the blows of the thirst during a torrid summer whose duration is unknown.

Once again, the goals of Sultan Erdogan, and in this case also his prevailing electoral needs, are the master in a devastated region, which does not enjoy any truce.

It was not enough for him to allow ISIS jihadists and foreign fighters to enter and leave Turkey to go to Iraq, Syria, and now to the West. No, it was not enough. The devastation of Afrin was not enough, and thus now it is necessary to insist further and shoot into the crowd, placing the Kurds and the Iraqis before the fear of an imminent dreadful fate: suffering from thirst.

The Tigris and the Euphrates even hold a remarkable symbolic value: their undeniable contribution to the birth of a global civilization. Impoverishing them is harming much more than the two rivers.

But everything is granted to Erdogan, nothing is denied, and even if the government of Baghdad protests and raise the alarm about the looming thirst, nobody moves a finger. He is untouchable because he is scary. The international community is scared about his threats of religious war due to the closure of mosques in Austria. His threats regarding the migrants are also terrifying. But nobody dares to say that he supports Qatar, the main sponsor and supporter of jihadist radicalism. After a one-year embargo, Turkey continues to back Doha in order to sustain its economy. Deafening silences about Ankara and Erdogan, even now that the next election could mark the beginning of his decline.