Turkey rejects Iran’s claims over dam construction

Ankara: Turkey has dismissed Iran’s accusation that the dam building in Turkey causes sand and dust storms in the region.

Turkish Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement that such allegations “have no scientific basis”, Xinhua news agency reported.

Bilgic noted that some Iranian politicians and media have blamed Turkey for Iran’s environmental hazards, including heavy air pollution lately in the Iranian capital of Tehran caused by sand and dust storms.

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But, he said, Iran is mainly impacted by the desert dust originating from Africa and the Middle East, which are the two most significant sources of global dust.

Furthermore, land degradation, deforestation, desertification and drought triggered by climate change are exacerbating such storms, Bilgic said, adding that every country is responsible for sustainable use of water and land resources.

Bilgic said Turkey believed that transboundary waters present an opportunity for cooperation rather than being a source of disagreement among riparian countries.

“Turkey stands ready for rational and scientific cooperation with Iran on this matter,” he said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Tuesday said Turkey’s upstream dam-building on the Aras River, a shared waterway in the region, was “unacceptable.”

Speaking to the Iranian parliament, he said Tehran was in contact with the Iraqi government, as both countries would be harmed by Turkey’s dam-building plans.

The Iranian minister noted his country intends to solve the problem through dialogue with the Turkish side, and has invited Ankara to establish a joint water committee to address the concerns.

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