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News Turkey, Syria Lay Foundation Stone Of 'Friendship Dam'

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended last February 6th, a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a dam on a river that flows from Syria to Turkey in a long-delayed project, promising that it will help strengthen cooperation with Syria.

Erdoğan, in an address during the ceremony held in the border province of Hatay, said Turkey was also working on other cooperation projects such as building a high-speed rail line between the two countries, establishing a joint Turkish-Syrian bank and linking the natural gas networks of the two neighbors.

“Turkey and Syria are two brothers, and friendly ties between the two will continue forever,” Erdoğan said in his address to a crowd waving Turkish and Syrian flags. “Today, the Asi River ceases to be a border line that separates us, that sets us apart, as it becomes a border line that brings us closer.”

The beginning of construction of the dam, dubbed as “the dam of friendship” was long delayed amid disagreements on technical details. On Jan. 7, 2010, it was announced that both countries agreed to build the dam. In the course of the discussions held afterwards, they decided to use the dam exclusively for irrigation purposes and as a flood prevention barrier. After its completion, it will be possible to irrigate 13,334 hectares of land.

But the dam’s potential uses in the future are not limited to irrigation and flood prevention purposes. Erdoğan said Turkey and Syria will also jointly use the electricity that the dam produces. It will also be possible to carry out fishery activities and water sports and other recreational activities. The costs of the dam’s operation and maintenance will be covered by the two countries, and each will have an equal share of the responsibility.

Erdoğan, who later flew to Aleppo for talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said the construction of the dam was also a result of his government’s policy of “zero problems with neighbors” that has led to a radical transformation in Turkish-Syrian ties from enmity to cooperation in almost every field. “Turkey will be more peaceful as Syria becomes more peaceful, and Syria will become wealthier as Turkey becomes wealthier,” said Erdoğan. “We are nations that were made brothers by history. Our destiny has been one and the same for centuries.”

This is why, Erdoğan said, what happens in Egypt and Tunisia is not only an issue for the people of these countries but also for Turkey, and the Palestine issue is not only an issue for Palestinians but also for Turkey and Syria.

Contact information n/a
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information Today's Zaman / / (Source: RadioFreeEurope)
Keyword(s) dam
Geographical coverage Turkey, Syria,
News date 07/02/2011
Working language(s) ENGLISH