Türkiye approaches the water issue from a purely humanitarian point of view and sees the transboundary waters as an element of cooperation rather than a conflict between riparian countries, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Vahit Kirişçi has stated.
Türkiye, which is under water stress, has established systems for the management of water resources with a rational and holistic approach, Kirişçi said during his speech at the United Nations Water Conference held in New York, the United States.
The country attaches importance to the development of hydrology and climate-based water observation networks on a national scale, the minister noted.
Emphasizing that they are open to constructive cooperation with riparian countries on the issue of waters crossing the border, Kirişçi said, “We think that handling complex water issues with the perception that they directly threaten international peace and security will harm cooperation and good neighborly relations within the framework of mutual trust.”
Kirişçi described the country’s approach to transboundary waters as “purely humanitarian,” stating that Türkiye always acts with an understanding that takes into account the needs of riparian countries.
The country comprehends the issue of waters as an element of cooperation rather than a conflict, Kirişçi added.
“Since each river basin that crosses borders has its own characteristics and dynamics, we are of the opinion that the issues should be handled only between riparian countries. We never think that the mediation approaches of third parties or the international coercive measures that can be taken in this regard will contribute to the common goals of cooperation in transboundary waters,” Kirişçi explained.
Expressing the U.N. water conventions are far from reflecting the will of the entire international community, Kirişçi noted that not only upstream countries but also downstream countries have responsibilities in crossing rivers, so all riparian countries should use water efficiently and rationally.
Referring to the U.N.’s sixth sustainable development goal on clean water and sanitation, Kirişçi supports the initiatives regarding the appointment of a U.N. special representative for water.
“It would be appropriate to raise awareness of the U.N.’s sixth sustainable development goal and to focus on water-related investments,” Kirişçi expressed.
Kirişçi also underlined that Türkiye is one of the countries that provide a considerable amount of humanitarian aid, adding that the country has implemented various water projects in different parts of the world, especially in Africa.
The country has provided drinking water to nearly 1.8 million people with 521 water wells in African countries since 2015, Kirişçi stated.