Desertification in Turkmen territory - and the assassination of the Udheym dam
Iraqi press ads and activities information from the offices of the Ministry of Water Resources tell us much about the creation of many dams in the Northern region, including several dams under construction and referral and 13 dams projects planned for 2007-2015 in Kirkuk. All of them (seem urgent of implementing) including large Hassa Chay dam and small dams like Shirin, Bakanh, and the other nine dams will clearly lead to desertification and prevent water to reach Turkmen areas.
The plains around Kerkuk (mainly Turkmen areas) are one of the most fertile lands in the world according to American, English and Russian experts, and could be a food basket for Iraq and the region if they get sufficient water supply, but politicians in the Kurdish region want to deport Turkmens as well as other non Kurds from this area, and the simplest way to achieve this is to deprive them of water (lifeline).
Some of the planned dams are:
1- Hassa Chay, large dam located 10 kilometers north-east of the Turkmen city Kirkuk, estimated cost of 113 billion ID paid from the Central Treasury.
2- Shirin, small dam located 14 kilometers east of the Turkmen city Kirkuk, with water reserve capacity of 1.000.000 million cubic meters and estimated cost of 5.5 billion ID.
3- Palkanah, small dam located 20 kilometers east of the Turkmen city Kirkuk.
4- Dams under implementation and referral with water reserve capacity of 400.000.000 million cubic meters
The construction of such dams dams without the necessary evaluation/studies on the rivers Hassa Chay and Dakook Chay in the Turkmen region will gravely reduce water supplies to the south of Kirkuk city, and other Turkmen areas like Omar Mandan, Leylan and bash Boolak.
With the completion of these dams and the start of water reserving, all Turkmen lands will be out of water supply and subject to desertification, the aim is to force the original local people to leave the areas where they have lived for thousands of years. All these are Turkmen and Arab territories, inhabited by tribes and clans such as: Beyat, Obeid, Jabbur and Assaf in the area of Taza, Tuz Hurmato, Dakook, Yaychi and Yengejeh.
These rivers, especially Hassa Chay are feeding the Udheym Lake Dam these areas are now deprived of water for lack of rain and because of the diverting of the water to the Kurdish areas.
In addition to the above, there is an urgent plan for the implementation of the Basoora dam to store water in the areas of the Udheym dam, as quoted from Mr. Mohamed Saleh by Orient newspaper and the result is depriving Arab and Turkmen areas of water.
These dams are under implementation and referral, Additional 9 dams are under study and design to be constructed during 2007-2015 which include the followings: Ali 1 dam on Tuz Chay, Ali 2 dam, Kara Incir dam, Zengene dam, Kara Hassan dam on Hassa Chay in governorate of Kerkuk, all these dams are transmitted to constructors very quickly because as it is clear the time in the interest of the Ministry of Water Resources.
The total water storage amounts as it planned is about 400-500 million cubic meters in areas of high land Turkmen regions as evidenced by their names, this amount of water storage was supposed to feed the Udheym dam reservoir. In the case of the completion of some of these dams the Udheym dam will no longer receive this amount of water. This will have very negative effects on humans, animals and plants.
It seems that the Iraqi leadership did not take into consideration the dangers of the implementation of these dams, without accurate evaluation of costs, economic feasibility of storing water and the power generation is unacceptable. Such projects must be carried out according to priority, economical importance and humanitarian consideration of people living in and around the area.
The reasons for the implementation of these dams are:
1 – Depriving Turkmen areas of water resources to force the inhabitants to move far from their ancestral land ‘Turkmeneli’.
2 – These dams’ expenses are from Iraq’s central treasury rather than from the 17% Kurdish region’s share.
3 – Leaving the control of the water resources in the hands of Kurdish politicians who will use it as pressure against the central government now and in the future.
4 - Reviving tourism and agriculture in the Kurdish region at the expense of the centre and south as a prelude to secede.
5 - Retaining most of the political cards in the hands of the Kurdish rulers for as long as possible.
Turkmeneli Party directs its appeal to:
- the Iraqi parties and the United Nations
- the Iraqis leaders, demanding them to revise their calculations and the use of the experience in evaluating such strategic issues
- the international organizations concerned with water, urging them to re-evaluate the construction of these dams, which will lead to a true disaster
- the coalition forces, asking them to study the issue seriously and demanding them to refrain from preferring Kurdish interests at the expense of the interests of Turkmen and Arabs who live in Kerkuk and surrounding areas.