Turkish Paper Slams Bulgaria over Border Areas Flooding

Diplomacy | January 15, 2011, Saturday // 18:08|  views

Pictured: the Tundzha River in Southeastern Bulgaria. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria has been slow to react with respect to projects for controlling its rivers that regularly flood European Turkey and its own border areas, an article of Turkish English-language newspaper Today's Zaman points out.

The situation with the control of the level of the three Bulgarian rivers that flow into Turkish territory – Maritsa, Tundzha, and Arda – is described as "urgent" in the article.

Bulgaria's authorities are criticized with respect to failing to go ahead with the preparation for the construction of a dam on the Tundzha River right on the Bulgarian-Turkish border, while Turkey is said to have already completed its share of the work.

"In recent years the frequency and the magnitude of floods have noticeably increased, the last one being in February 2010. The early warning system in Turkey simply does not work because of the short length of rivers in Turkish territory. Hence, it is absolutely essential that Bulgaria cooperate with Turkey in installing sensors along the riverbed in its own territory. Unfortunately, cooperation on real-time information sharing and flood-warning sensors was started only after 2003 with EU-funded projects," the article of the Today's Zaman says.

"Turkey needs the cooperation of the Bulgarian side, as they are the ones who control the floodgates in dams built on these rivers in their part of the territory. A combination of good management of existing Bulgarian dams and construction of a new one along the border may offer the best available option for tackling the flooding problem in the area. Turkish officials tell me the fractured coalition government and the current composition of parliament in Bulgaria constitute the major impediments blocking close cooperation on issues like these. Finding consensus on projects like building a friendship dam along the common border proved to be difficult for the Bulgarian side," the author argues.

The article emphasizes that Bulgaria is liable under a EU Directive 2007/60/EC, which requires member states to map the flood extent and assets and humans at risk in flood-risk areas and order them to take adequate and coordinated measures to reduce this flood risk.

Under this Directive, Bulgaria will need to complete its preliminary assessment of river flooding risks by 2011, come up with risk maps by 2013, and establish flood-risk management by 2015.

Full Text of the article of Today's Zaman READ HERE

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Tags: Maritsa, Tundzha, Arda, floods, flooding, river, turkey, European Turkey, Edirne, Today's Zaman


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