Ankara rejects Tehran’s claims linking Turkish dams to drought


The Foreign Ministry on Thursday dismissed claims echoed by Iranian officials and media that Turkish-built dams are causing droughts and sandstorms in Iran.

“Claims that dams in Turkey have caused sand and dust storms in our region are far from scientific,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç said in a statement.

Stating that sand and dust storms are universally accepted as largely natural phenomena, Bilgiç said the main cause of the storms affecting Turkey and Iran was desert dust blown in from Africa and the Middle -East.

“Land destruction, deforestation, desertification and drought caused by climate change are also increasing these storms,” ​​he added.

Each country should do its part and take measures for the sustainable use of water and soil resources to prevent sand and dust storms, as well as mitigate their negative effects, the official stressed.

These problems cannot realistically be solved if Tehran blames Turkey for such problems, he said.

Ankara “sees water-related issues from a purely humanitarian perspective,” Bilgiç said, stressing that Turkey believes transboundary waters are an area of ​​cooperation rather than conflict between riparian countries.

Turkey is open to rational and scientific cooperation with Iran on this issue, he added.

Tehran said Tuesday that Turkey’s construction of upstream dams on shared waterways, namely the Aras River in the northeast, was “unacceptable”, calling on its neighbor to cease operations.

Iran has faced frequent droughts in recent years, caused partly by climate change but also by the construction of dams in neighboring countries.

Neither country is a party to the 1997 UN Watercourses Convention which regulates the use of transnational water resources.

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