August 28, 2001
Irrigated area and cotton production continue to increase in the Southeastern Anatolia region as a result of the Southeastern Anatolian Project (GAP). From 1994 to 2001, GAPís cotton area increased from 160,000 to 341,000 hectares, or greater than a 50-percent increase (Figure 1). The increased area of 181,000 hectares is largely attributed to the opening of the first Sanliurfa Tunnel at the end of 1994. The Sanliurfa Tunnel delivers water to two main canals that irrigate 150,000 hectares on the Sanliurfa-Harran plains, with ninety percent of the irrigated area being planted cotton.
Irrigation expansion within the Harran plains also increased Southeastern Anatolia's cotton production from 164,000 to 400,000 metric tons, or nearly 60 percent. The GAP project has transformed Southeastern Anatolia into a regional leader in Turkeyís cotton production, from producing approximately 25 percent of the nation's cotton in 1994 to producing nearly 50 percent of the nationís cotton in 2001. In addition, the increase in irrigated area and production within the GAP has resulted in near record levels of cotton production for Turkey this year.
Figure1. Southeastern Anatolia Becomes Major Cotton Producing Region from
Figure1. Southeastern Anatolia Becomes Major Cotton Producing Region from 1994-2001.
Turkey has four major crop regions and Southeastern Anatolia now produces more than any other region due to the GAP project (Figures 1 and 2). The GAP Project started to contribute to agricultural output for Turkey when one of the twin Sanliurfa Tunnels from the Ataturk Dam was opened at the end of 1994. The Ataturk Dam and the Sanliurfa Tunnel system are two major components of the GAP project, which consists of a series of hydroelectric dams to irrigate a total of 1.7 million hectares.
Figure 2. Four major cotton regions in Turkey
Water from the Ataturk dam and reservoir will irrigate a total of 882,000 hectares of which the Sanliurfa tunnel system will deliver water via gravity-flow to nearly 476,000 hectares onto the Sanliurfa-Harran, Mardin and Ceylanpinar plains. The Sanliurfa-Harran, Mardin and Ceylanpinar plains lie between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, which encompass the famous "Fertile Crescent" -- the birthplace of the Mesopotamian civilizations and agriculture in the Middle East.
The Sanliurfa Tunnel system consists of two parallel tunnels each 26.4 kilometers long and 7.62 meters in diameter. The first Sanliurfa tunnel was opened in 1994 and the second tunnel should be inaugurated next year. The second tunnel will irrigate an additional 326,000 hectares which will be gradually phased-in for cotton production as the irrigation canals and networks within the Mardin and Ceylanpinar plains are completed. The second phase of irrigation expansion from the second tunnel will be approximately twice as large as the area irrigated from the first tunnel. Therefore, it is expected that Turkey's cotton area and production potential in Southeastern Anatolia will continue to increase during the next few years.
Completion of the GAP is scheduled for 2010, but Turkey's recent economic difficulties may delay completion. Financial delays will likely translate into delays in irrigation expansion, as only 12 percent of expenditures have been on irrigation expansion, while approximately 75 percent of GAPís funding (9.6 billion US dollars) went towards building dams. Currently, the Karakaya and AtatŁrk dams provide nearly 60 percent of the GAPís energy production, for a total of 4200 MW installed capacity. The monetary value of energy produced by these two dams over the past ten years is estimated at 8.5 billion US dollars, and the water stored by the Ataturk dam can now be used for irrigation expansion.
Work remaining for the GAP project is to gradually phase-in nearly 1.5 million hectares of irrigated land as the construction of smaller dams, canals and water distribution networks are completed. Even if the construction pace slows during the next ten years, GAP's irrigation expansion is expected to continue, and cotton area and production will increase in Southeastern Anatolia region.
Additional information about the GAP project in Turkey can be found at PECADís country page for Turkey.
For more information, contact Curt Reynolds with the
Production Estimates and Crop Assessment Division at (202)
690-0134 or e-mail ReynoldsC@fas.usda.gov.
For more information, contact Curt Reynolds with the Production Estimates and Crop Assessment Division at (202) 690-0134 or e-mail ReynoldsC@fas.usda.gov.