Ministers contradict one another regarding water reserves

Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroglu, in direct contradiction to statements made by Energy Minister Taner Yildiz on Monday, said that there would be no energy shortages due to exhausted water reservoirs this summer, while responding to questions from journalists in Ankara on Tuesday.

Yildiz had previously said that extended drought had exhausted Turkey’s water reservoirs in the east and southeastern parts of the country, and that this would drastically impact the country’s ability to produce its own electricity. He added that he expected Turkey to increase its electricity imports from neighbors Bulgaria, Iran and Georgia.

However, Eroglu dismissed such claims. “The reservoirs of the Tigris-Euphrates basin are at more than 50 percent of capacity. We will be able to produce as much energy as is necessary. We are expecting precipitation levels in April and May to be normal,” Eroglu said.

Eroglu avoided making his own statement regarding the subject of whether Turkey would increase its electricity imports from neighboring countries, saying, “The subject of energy imports is under our esteemed energy minister’s area.” “But,” he reiterated, “the water reservoirs which are used to produce energy are more than 50 percent full; our water situation is good in spite of the drought.”

“We have said time and time [again] that there will not be a water crisis,” emphasized the forest and water affairs minister.

For the past several months Turkey has experienced a period of drought that, in conjunction with unusually high temperatures followed by sudden frosts, cut into farmers’ yields, causing anxiety among agricultural producers. There have been numerous news reports in recent months that various water reservoirs throughout the country have dropped to low levels due to drought.