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Turkiye rejects Iran accusations that its dams cause drought

Spokesperson of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Tanju Bilgic makes a speech as he holds a press briefing in Ankara, Turkey on October 21, 2021. [Cem Özdel - Anadolu Agency]
Spokesperson of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Tanju Bilgic makes a speech as he holds a press briefing in Ankara, Turkey on October 21, 2021. [Cem Özdel - Anadolu Agency]

The Turkish Foreign Ministry yesterday rejected Iranian accusations that its dam-building activities have caused droughts in the region.

"Claims that dams in Turkiye cause sand and dust storms in our region are far from scientific," Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Tehran said Turkiye's construction of dams on shared waterways was "unacceptable", calling on its neighbour to stop such activity.

Iran has in recent years faced frequent droughts, caused in part by climate change as well as dam construction in neighbouring countries.

"In order to prevent sand and dust storms and to mitigate their negative effects, each country must first do its part and take the necessary steps towards sustainable use of water and soil resources," Bilgic said.

He added that "it is not a realistic approach… for the Tehran administration to blame Turkiye for such problems."

The spokesperson also said that Ankara believes the shared waters between Iran and Turkey were "an element of cooperation rather than conflict".

"Turkiye is open to any rational and scientific cooperation with Iran regarding this issue," he added.

Neither Turkiye nor Iran are members of the 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses, pertaining to the uses and conservation of all waters that cross international boundaries.

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