Hundreds of Iraqis gathered on Tuesday in front of the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad against water restrictions Turkey imposed on Iraq.
The protesters called for a boycott of Turkish products and condemned Iraqi government’s inaction on the matter.
The demonstration was organised in response to what the activists described as the failure of the Water Resources Ministry to address the water shortages. The protesters also expressed their dissatisfaction with the government’s silence on Turkey’s water policy.
The water crisis in Iraq has been a contentious issue for some time now. Iraq relies heavily on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers for its water supply, both of which originate in Turkey. The construction of dams in Turkey has significantly reduced the flow of these rivers, leading to water shortages in Iraq.
The protesters held a banner that read “If the Turkish government continues to make Iraqis thirsty, we will take the water problem to the international platform and boycott Turkish goods.”
On Monday, in their first meeting since 2011, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have indirectly blamed Turkey for the water scarcity in their countries, attributing it to the construction of dams on shared rivers. The leaders have emphasised the need for dialogue with “upstream countries” to ensure fair water distribution, amidst the backdrop of significantly reduced water levels in the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.
Meanwhile, the Chibayish Marshes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in southern Iraq, is facing a severe drought crisis due to water hoarding by neighbouring countries, Turkey and Iran, for their dam and canal projects. The resulting water scarcity has transformed the once thriving marshes into a near desert, severely impacting the local agricultural industry and the lives of many Iraqis, with concerns escalating over the future of the region.