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The perils of modernization: the uncertain benefits of the Turkish GAP project and downstream Iraqi farmland

Baskin, Anna (2023) The perils of modernization: the uncertain benefits of the Turkish GAP project and downstream Iraqi farmland. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Türkiye’s Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) aims to inspire economic growth in an underdeveloped region of Türkiye through the construction of 22 dams along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Despite the purportedly humanitarian goals of the project, protests arose from both local Turkish populations and communities in downstream neighbors Iraq and Syria. To address Iraq’s protests concerning their access to water, Turkish officials promised to maintain a “fair and equitable” flow of water into Iraq. However, struggling Iraqi farmers now blame Türkiye’s new dams for exacerbating the effects of drought and climate change. In an attempt to address the gap in research concerning the actual impact of Turkish dams on downstream Iraq, this project quantifies changes in vegetation and population surrounding the GAP dams in Türkiye and the downstream Mosul Dam in Iraq. Using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data to estimate changing vegetation over time and UN-adjusted population rasters to estimate population change, this research assesses whether Türkiye’s agricultural development seems to come at the expense of Iraqi farmland and farmers. It finds that the Iraqi Mosul Dam sees greater fluctuations during periods of drought in comparison to upstream Turkish dams along the Tigris River, and yet also has also seen population growth above the national average. In light of the Mosul Dam’s vulnerability to changes in precipitation, this population increase has the potential to severely strain its remaining resources. Meanwhile, land around the Turkish dams has not seen population growth on par with the national average, indicating that these dams may not be benefitting their local populations as the government claims.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Baskin, Annaafb39@pitt.eduafb39
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLucas, Susansdl44@pitt.eduadl44
Committee MemberCannon, Joshjwc70@pitt.edujwc70
Committee MemberDijmarescu, Horiadijmarescu@pitt.edudijmarescu
Committee MemberLyons,
Date: 14 December 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 8 December 2023
Approval Date: 14 December 2023
Submission Date: 11 December 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 58
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Turkey, Iraq, Mosul Dam, GAP, Southeastern Anatolia Project, Dams
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2023 18:05
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2023 18:05


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