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GAP Water Resources Development Program

GAP and Agriculture

GAP and Industry

GAP and Infrastructure

Social Aspects of GAP

GAP, Environment and Culture

GAP and International Cooperation

Relations with International Water Organizations

Financing the GAP

Latest State in GAP



This program consists of two groups of projects, the Euphrates and the Tigris, carried out by the State Hydraulic Works (DSI). The program envisages the construction of 22 dams, 19 hydraulic power plants (HPP) and irrigation canals to bring water a year will enable Turkey to control 28 percent of its total water potential. The area to be irrigated in the region corresponds to 20 percent of total irrigable land in Turkey, and its annual energy production to 22 percent of the country total.

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GAP Region extends over a large area covering 75.000 square kilometers. Growing in this region are such diverse crops from olive to pistachio and from hazel nuts to citrus fruits, each requiring different climatic conditions. The land use pattern is as follows: 3.1 million hectares of range land and pasture. The GAP strives to use these resources efficiently. For the first time in the country, the management, operation and maintenance of irrigation system established in the region were transferred to irrigation districts formed by farmers. Cotton grown in areas brought under irrigation yet makes up a third of the national cotton output. Climatic conditions in the region are fit for growing a second crop in a year. The natural conditions of the region is also fit for stock breeding. The GAP Administration is engaged in various research projects for genetic improvements and developing better techniques for stock breeding.

The objectives of rural development in the GAP region include raising the level of income in rural areas, providing inputs for industry, minimizing migration from rural to urban areas, generating employment and enhancing export oriented production. According to researches, an area equal to the size of total land so far brought under irrigation by the State will be created upon the completion of the project. Consequently, there will be substantial changes in crop pattern and output (projected increases in the output of main crops: 90 percent in barley, 600 percent cotton, 700 percent in tomato, 250 percent in lentil and 167 percent in vegetables). Agriculture based industrial development will capitalize on such products as soybeans, ground nuts, corn and sunflower which were not grown much prior to irrigation as well as oil seeds and fodder crops.

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As it is already mentioned, the GAP Master Plan has the objective of transforming the region into an “agriculture based export center”. This requires investments to create a potential for industry and services and enhancement of private sector investments. The GAP thus conducts to ensure the participation of the private sector along with investments in industrial infrastructure. The Study for the “Development of Regional Transportation and Infrastructure” conducted by the GAP Administration in 1992 identified the prospective spatial distribution of industries, prepared the environmental plans for 9 areas expected to grow rapidly, and allocated sites for industries to be generated with the progress of the project. GAP Entrepreneur Support and Guidance Centers (GAP-GIDEM) are presently active in 5 provincial centers to render information and consulting services to investors both from and outside the region.

Organized Industrial Districts so far completed in the region has a share of 11 percent in the total of the country in terms of the area they cover. At present are 342 enterprises active in these districts, employing 34,400 persons.

As of the end of 1997, there were 18 Small Industrial Sites in the region. Their share in terms of area is 8 percent. These sites have 5,514 active enterprises and the total figure for employment reaches 33,000. There are other sites presently under construction. It is projected that these new sites will have an employment capacity of 60,000 persons.

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Spatial development is an important component in the project. Thus, urban infrastructure woks are given special emphasis. The study for the Development of Regional Transportation and Infrastructure has already piled up many projects for the region. Additionally, the engineering design and feasibility studies for the GAP International Airport were realized on a grant provided by the US Trade and Development Agency. The Ministry of Transportation started construction works in May 1998.

6 of the 9 provinces in the GAP region have their airports. Presently under construction is an international airport and that of Mardin. In this sense, the region is like a large and active construction site.

From 1985 to 1995, the GAP triggered important developments in infrastructure. For example, while rural water provision rose from 57 to 67 percent, urban water provision jumped from a low 15 percent to 57 percent. Village electrification also rose from 66 to 99 percent and the percentage of village having their main road connections from 71 to 98 percent.

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The GAP strives to eliminate inter-regional development gaps and contribute to a balanced development process. As such, its success largely stems from familiarity with the people of region and their participation and support to the project. Therefor, social surveys and practices basing upon such surveys and studies as “Trends of Social Change”, “Population Movements”, “Status of Women and Their Integration to Process of Development”, and “Problems of Resettlement and Employment of People From Areas to Remain Under Dam Lakes”, the GAP Social Action Plan was phased in to ensure people’s participation to sustainable development.

What is targeted by public investments under the GAP is to materialize sustainable human development. This principle implies the creation of opportunities by which the people of the region can materialize their preferences and full potential in a just and equitable way. In line Multi-Purpose Community Centers (CATOM) for women since 1995. There is cooperation with various governmental and non-governmental organizations and such international organizations like UNICEF to expant these centers further. The GAP Administration had launced CATOM first in one rural and one urban settlement in Sanliurfa in cooperation with the Governorate of Sanliurfa and the Labor Placement Office. There are 22 such CATOM’s in the region as of the end of 1999.

The project has the objective of raising the status of local women who, for some economic and cultural reasons, have difficulty in access to basic social services, in reaping the benefits of development and change, and in taking part in social processes as equal individuals. The Project has so far reached 15,000 women. The number of CATOM increases upon the request of local people and CATOM activities have already gained a sustained character. The plan for the near future is to give these centers a semi-autonomous and institutionalized character with the support of various voluntary organizations. As such, CATOM activities have a special priority for the GAP Administration.

Under the Social Action Plan, activities for the resettlement of the people affected by the Birecik Dam are taking place in a participatory way. The program for resettlement is the first of its kind in terms of its scope and people’s participation. The program has the objective of resettling the people concerned, selecting a site for resettlements, investments for their employment, and helping these people adapt to their new settlements and get organized so as to be self supporting. As a part of the program, the people affected by the dam construction were informed about the studies of economists as to various investment alternatives and their opinions were solicited to find the best alternative. The program is being implemented in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

As far as social projects are concerned, the GAP Administration is also implementing several others including the Rehabilitation of Street Children in Diyarbakir, School Bussing Services in Rural Areas and Youth Projects in Mardin.

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The principles of the “Agenda 21” which was adopted in Rio in 1992 to set forth the new approach to the environment had already as the underlying principle by the GAP Administration since 1989.

With the gradual implementation of the project, bringing 1,7 million hectares of land under irrigation and creation of new water reservoirs will substantially change the water and land regime in the region. At the same time, population movements, rapid urbanization and industrialization will bring along new transformations in both urban and rural areas. Also, there are some problems inherent in such large projects. These problems include the negative consequences of excessive and uninformed practices of irrigation; impact of climatic changes on the flora and fauna of the region; erosion and adverse effects of uncontrolled development on natural, historical and cultural properties. All these point out to the necessity of addressing the project by considering all aspects including environmental and cultural ones.

The region of Southeastern Anatolia is rich with the remains of many antic civilizations and cultural properties relating to three main religions. This rich mosaic has such special colors as the establishment of the city of Urfa by Noah, Moses being a shepherd in mountains around, and Urfa’s sanctification by jesus Christ as a “holy city”. The activities of the GAP Administration thus include those related to the restoration and salvation of cultural and historical properties, construction of boarding facilities for visitors and environmental improvements in specially important sites. Some examples to these activities include the Documentation of the Immovable Cultural Properties of Birecik, Halfeti and Suruc; Exploration, Excavation and Salvation in the Hasankeyf Archaeological Site: and Acirli (Midyat-Mardin) Environemntal Design Project.

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At the time when the headway is taken in the context of sustainable human development has reached a point of no return, foreign countries and organization have also increased their contributions to the project. In this sense, the year 1997 was a turning point when the project package “Program for Sustainable Development in GAP” was launched in cooperation with the UNDP.

The basic objective of this joint effort by the GAP Administration and UNDP is to reduce socio-economic disparities in the GAP region. The program stresses on the human dimensions of development through projects on basic social services (education, health and housing), gender equity, urban management, environmental sustainability, institutional and social capacity building and grassroots participation. The program consisting of 29 sub-project has a cost profile of 5,2 million US Dollars.

The World Bank contributes to projects related to the improvement of urban and rural infrastructure in the GAP region. This contribution has become definitive for two projects for the time being. These are “Sanliurfa-Harran Plains On-farm and Village Development Project” and “GAP Urban Sanitation and Planning Project”. The Bank granted 650,000 US Dollars for the preliminary works related to these two projects. The Bank is expected to contribute further 128,5 million Dollars for the further stages of implementation.

The cooperation between Turkey and US in the context of GAP is flourishing. The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) forwarded grants for the GAP International Airport and GAP-GIS projects. Also, there are promising contacts with Arizona State University (ASU), San Diego University (SDSU) and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to conduct joint projects and training activities.

Steps have been taken to conduct joint researches and projects on rural development with the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA). There is agreement with the International Cooperation Center of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MASHAV) to orginize joint training courses. At present, training in rural development issues is taking place in Israel and in the GAP region.

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GAP is an integrated and sustainable development project based on water resources. At the turn of the 21st century when the global importance of water resources is well grasped, it is essential to have the GAP examined by international platforms, represented in such platforms and to exchange opinion and experience with relevant parties.

The World Water Council (WWC) was established on 22 March 1996 to carry out such an important mission as raising global awareness on water issues and conduct scientific and technological studies on water resources. GAP President I.H.Olcay Unver, Ph.D. Is presently a member of the Board of Governors of the Council and Chairperson of its Finance Committee.

The GAP President is also the member of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Global Water Partnership (GWP) established in 1996 and the Executive Council of the UK based International Hydraulics Association (IHA). GAP President I.H.Olcay Unver is also nominated as the Secretary General of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) for the term 2001-2003.

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The GAP has a financial profile of about 32 billion US Dollars spent for the project until June 1999 was raised largely from domestic resources. Yet, the world wide recognition of the project with its emphasis on human dimensions and sustainability aroused international interest. Consequently, countries including the US, Canada, Israel, France and some European countries; international foreign funds and credit agencies have started supporting GAP financially. The GAP Administration was also able to secure 2,9 million US Dollars worth of grant from some finance agencies to be used for the project.

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The cash realization rate under the project has reached 43.3 percent. Broken down in specific sectors, the rate of cash realization is 75 percent energy projects, 12 percent in irrigation projects and 58 percent in social projects. Even at this stage, the project has already created considerable economic benefits to the region and the country.

Ataturk and Karakaya Dams generate a substantial part of energy in the interconnected system. The monetary value of this contribution amounts to 9.3 billion US Dollars. Hydraulic energy produced by these dams from their phasing in up to 15 September 1999 reached 155.2 billion kWh. As mentioned earlier, this production is equivalent to 38.8 million tons of fuel oil or 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

Irrigation on the Harran Plain started in 1995 and the total land under irrigation has reached 201.080 hectares as of 1999. As a result, there has been a "boom" in the agricultural output of the region. While the monetary value of full irrigation in the region is estimated as 3 billion US Dollars, the economic benefits.

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