Turkish Water Exports: A Model for Regional Cooperation in the Development of Water Resources

  • George E. Gruen


This chapter analyzes the status of Turkish plans to export water to Israel, Palestine, Cyprus, and other countries in the Middle East. The most ambitious of these was President Turgut Özal’s 1986 ‘Peace Water Pipeline’, a $ 21 billion project to bring water from the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers via pipelines to cities in Syria, Jordan, and the Arab Gulf States. This chapter examines why this was not implemented. A shorter pipeline from the Seyhan or Ceyhan rivers to Syria and Jordan, estimated to cost $ 5 billion, may become feasible following the recent rapprochement between Turkey and Syria, but extension of the pipeline to Israel and the Palestinian territories requires a breakthrough in Syrian-Israeli relations, including resolution of disputes over Jordan River headwaters and the Syrian access to the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret). This chapter will assess the progress of a Turkish export scheme that has been approved in principle: Manavgat water to Israel. Israel has agreed to purchase 50 MCM annually for 20 years from the Manavgat River near Antalya, but as of November 2006 the agreement had been shelved because the parties had neither finalized the price nor selected the company to implement the water transfer. Israeli advocates of desalination object to the price of Turkish water and question the wisdom of relying on Ankara, whose government has lately been critical of Israeli policies. Palestinian water officials express interest in Turkish water if the cost is subsidized by international aid agencies. Ankara views the Manavgat ‘Peace Water Project’ as its contribution to the Arab-Israel peace process. A 100 MCM capacity desalination plant was opened in Israel’s coastal city of Ashkelon in October 2005, while the idea of importing Turkish water was revived in April 2006 as part of a multi-million-dollar energy and water project that will utilize four underwater pipelines to transport water, electricity and high-speed data, natural gas and oil to Israel. Some of the water would be earmarked for Palestinian and Jordanian use, while most of the oil would be transferred by tankers to the Far East. The European Investment Bank is undertaking a $ 50 million feasibility study.


Cyprus Israel Palestine Turkey water exports 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • George E. Gruen
    • 1
  1. 1.Columbia University Middle East InstituteNew York

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