Analysis of the syrian-Turkish water conflict in the rapprochement period: a historical chance for resolution?
Bayar, Murat (2006) Analysis of the syrian-Turkish water conflict in the rapprochement period: a historical chance for resolution? [Thesis]
After the 1998 Adana Agreement, Syria and Turkey entered a rapprochement period, and their bilateral relations have developed significantly. Based on this assumption, this study focuses on the Syrian-Turkish conflict over the Euphrates and Orontes rivers, and questions the potential of resolution within this context. The framework of analysis is based on Pruitt and Kim's three preconditions for problem-solving initiatives: a stalemate for one or both parties, optimism to resolve the conflict in a mutually acceptable way, and cost-benefit analyses of parties that favor the resolution. For this purpose, this study conducted a qualitative case study depending on the events data, and created a Syrian-Turkish Water Events Database, comprising 111 water incidents for the period January 1983-May 2006. The findings indicate that Turkey, the upper riparian state on the Euphrates river, has neither a significant optimism, nor a cost-benefit analysis favoring the resolution, although Syria has entered a stalemate and demanded a final agreement. In the final part, this study makes an alternative cost-benefit analysis for Turkey, and advocates that this party's accession negotiations with the European Union are posing a risk to change her traditional water policies in the upcoming decade, which may deteriorate her bargaining power at water negotiations. Accordingly, this study suggests that Turkish policy-makers consider a problem-solving initiative with Syria, while Turkey's bargaining power is at a maximum, and the two countries are enjoying a positive period unprecedented in their relations.
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