The Iraqi parliament speaker says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to increase releases of water from Turkey’s Ilisu Dam on the Tigris River to neighboring Iraq, which is suffering from water shortages.
According to Press TV, Mohammed al-Halbousi, who met Erdogan in Turkey on Tuesday, said the president had agreed to an Iraqi request for more water supplies.
This was “in order to guarantee water reaches all of Iraq’s provinces, especially Basra”, Halbousi said in a statement.
Turkey is holding back water behind its Ilisu Dam in the country’s southeast, prompting deep concern over water shortages in Iraq.
Turkey temporarily stopped filling a reservoir behind the dam in June but agreed with Baghdad to resume doing so in July.
Iraq is already suffering from a drought that has reduced water levels in lakes and rivers. The public and the media in the Arab country have blamed Turkey for the water shortage as both Tigris and the Euphrates rivers which make up around 70 percent of Iraq’s water resources flow through Turkey.
The lack of clean drinking water was one of the causes of months of street protests which broke out in Basra Province.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is scheduled to visit Baghdad on Thursday.