May 3rd, 2012
03:48 PM ET

Flooding out terror? Turkey’s Ilisu dam project

Editor's Note: Soner Cagaptay is a senior fellow and Altay Sedat Otun is a research intern at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 

By Soner Cagaptay and Altay Sedat Otun - Special to CNN

You may have heard of dams being built for water management purposes or electricity production, but probably not one being built for counter-terrorism purposes. Turkey’s proposed Ilisu Dam on the Tigris River would satisfy just that end.

When Ankara completes the proposed construction on the dam in 2013, a large artificial reservoir would flood canyons across the rugged terrain of southeastern Turkey, thus effectively flooding out the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) from the area and scoring a rare “hydro-victory” against terrorism.

The Ilisu Dam project is part of the government-funded Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP), which traces its origins to the early days of the Turkish republic when plans to utilize the Euphrates and Tigris rivers for energy generation and irrigation were first developed. However, GAP it still awaiting completion. Major fighting between the PKK and the Turkish military has prevented completion of the project since the 1990s. FULL POST