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To what extent can the European Union influence as an external actor on Turkeys integrated water management policy? In particular with regard to the Euphrates-Tigris river basin
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences. (Masters in Sustainable Development)
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Research focus: This paper asks to what extent the European Union (EU) can influence as an external actor Turkey’s integrated water management policy. In particular this paper focuses on the case example of the water conflict arising over the usage of the transboundary Euphrates-Tigris river basin and what extent the EU can bring to bear its influence on Turkey to bring a resolution to the management of this river basin.

Method: This paper consists of a comparative literature review of recent journals, academic articles, official publications and website content as well as respected news website material. The research method used consisted of an analysis assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the EU’s influence on Turkey’s water policy. Whilst this analysis tool is fairly straight forward to apply to assessing the EU’s influence on Turkey’s broad national water management policy, assessing how the EU can encourage Turkey to cooperate further on the International river basin of the Euphrates-Tigris is far more difficult, owing to the controversy and importance of the river to all three Countries sharing it; Turkey, Iraq and Syria.

Findings: Through using a comparison of literature this paper has found that the main strength of the EU’s influence on Turkey’s integrated water management policy is through the very definite obligations Turkey must fulfil under the WFD as a candidate member for the EU. Secondly, this paper submits that the EU’s strong river management experience through large river cooperation projects, for example that of the Danube river basin, further enhances the ability of the EU’s credibility in its influence. The weakness the EU’s influence faces is the difficulty associated with Turkeys candidacy process to the EU which if hampered could quickly reduce the EU’s influence on Turkey. Opportunities for cooperation on the Euphrates–Tigris are also looked at positively in this paper especially in the light of a new Middle Eastern politics even though considerable uncertainty remains as to the full outcome. Lastly a threat that could face the EU’s influence is the results that a third way relationship between the EU and Turkey could have on limiting the EU’s influence with regard to integrated water policies.

The main conclusion: This paper has concluded that the EU’s influence through the WFD is very strong on Turkey’s water policy, owing largely to Turkeys desire to obtain eventual full membership of the EU. Should the candidacy process fail, this could have a quick and damaging impact on the EU’s influence. This paper has also found that the EU has a strong potential influence in pushing Turkey towards further cooperation on the Euphrates-Tigris, however Turkey’s progress has to date been slow and remains a major challenge.


This paper recommends that Turkey uses the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to open up dialogue with lower riparian river states towards cooperation, that the EU suggest setting up a ‘commission’ as a means of achieving improved transboundary river cooperation and the need for a research network or center to bring together efforts towards cooperation on the Euphrates-Tigris river basin.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 28 p.
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 75
Keyword [en]
Sustainable Development, European Union, Turkey, Euphrates-Tigris, Water Framework Directive, Water Security
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-179998OAI: diva2:547463
Subject / course
Sustainable development
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
2012-06-01, Department of Earth Sciences, Villavägen 16. 752 36 Uppsala, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2012-10-01 Created: 2012-08-28 Last updated: 2012-10-01Bibliographically approved

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