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Euphrates comes to mind when it comes to Tigris or Tigris comes to mind when it comes to Euphrates...


How to tell the story of two running waters?


Two and a half percent of the world's water is freshwater, and only one percent of this is suitable for use. Nearly two billion people do not have access to healthy water. The scarcity of water on earth makes it precious. The world's rulers predict that in the 2050s it will be harder than ever to access water, which will lead to a high likelihood of water-related conflicts in some parts of the world. Nine of the regions with a high likelihood of war are in the Middle East... The reasons I have briefly mentioned above led me to make the story of these two rivers. These frames tell not only about yesterday and today, but also about tomorrow.


The Euphrates travels 1,263 kilometers in these lands, compared to the Tigris' 523-kilometer journey across Turkey. While one branch starts its journey from Diyadin district of Ağrı under the name Murat, the other main branch starts its journey from Güngörmez village of Erzurum under the name Karasu. Karasu's route is shorter. For 460 kilometers, it passes through Aşkale, Tercan, Kemah, İliç, Kemaliye and reaches Keban. The longer Murat, on the other hand, travels 733 kilometers, passing through Taşlıçay, Ağrı, Tutak, the endless Muş Plain, Bingöl, Genç and then reaches Elazığ and Keban.


The Sumerians first witnessed this reunion and named it 'Buranuna'. The Akkadians called it 'Purattu', meaning 'easily crossed'. However, the river has taken thousands of lives for centuries. The Greeks, who witnessed this, gave it the name of Euphrates, one of the gods. And the whole world began to call this sacred river by the name of Euphrates, who accidentally killed his son and threw himself into this river.


Then the book religions started to bless the Euphrates. In Genesis, Moses' Yahweh writes that "...after he created Adam, he created a garden 'in Aden toward the east' and placed Adam there. A river came out of it, which later split into four branches. Two of these four branches are the Tigris and the Euphrates..." Jesus Christ of the Christians, in the Revelation chapter of the Bible, said, "Untie the four angels who were bound by the great river Euphrates. The sixth angel emptied his cup into the great river Euphrates." The Prophet Muhammad of Islam said in one of his hadiths, "The Apocalypse will not come until the Euphrates River opens over a golden mountain. People will fight over it. Ninety-nine out of a hundred people are killed. Each one of them says: 'I will probably win the war'."

Let's come to the story of the Tigris... Some say the source of the Tigris is 'Lake Hazar', some say 'Zixir Village', some say 'Birkileyn Cave'. Setting off from these places, the Tigris first visits the Maden district; one branch passes through the Dicle district, which shares its name, while the other descends from Lice to Diyarbakır. Diyarbakır is the only province that Tigris and Euphrates visit together. But for this rapprochement to end in a reunion, they will have to travel another 1641 kilometers. With the Bismil district, the Tigris now crosses into Batman, where it blesses the thousand-year-old Hasankeyf. It makes its way to Dargeçit, not knowing that human beings are building Ilısu to stop it, and then moves on to Cizre to leave Turkey. It forms the border between the people of the two regions who speak the same language, and thus begins the river's journey from one country to another. Its journey here is quite short and from there it moves to another inland country and becomes Arabized, merging with the Euphrates and becoming the Shatt al Arab.


As it has many sources, the Tigris also has many names. The Sumerians called it 'Idigna' or 'Idigina' meaning 'flowing water', the Elamites called it 'Ti-gi-ra', the Persians called it 'Tigra', and the Greeks called it 'Tigris'. Its name in Sumerian was translated into Akkadian as 'Idiklat'. In Hebrew it was called 'Hiddekel', in Syriac 'Diklat', in Kurdish 'Dijle', and in Arabic, Turkish and Persian 'Tigris'.

Shorter in length than the Euphrates, the Tigris has more water, but it seems to want to flow quickly away from these lands. During the Mongol invasions, books were thrown into the river and the Tigris flowed with ink for days. Then Yavuz Sultan Selim embarked on the Eastern campaign and the blood of those with red heads mixed with it, and the water that flowed blue hundreds of years ago started to flow red this time. The Yazidis were not spared their share, Mir Bedirxan's justice dyed the Tigris red again. Then the Armenians, the owners of this land for thousands of years... Then the Assyrians who were the first to believe in Jesus, then the Chaldeans... It must be because of witnessing all this that the Tigris does not want to spare its share of water and flows swiftly.


Despite all that has happened, for centuries people have continued to hang out by these two waters. They built cities and started history. They invented writing and wrote history. They created legends and gods and shaped history. They built soaring Ziggurats, they wanted to reach something holier than water. They did it all, but they did it all on the banks of these two waters.


Tigris and Euphrates flowed for centuries. Then... Then dams were built. Zeugma drowned... Samsat drowned... Nevala Choli drowned... Urima drowned... Rumkale drowned... Halfeti drowned... Hasankeyf drowned...

THE STORY OF TWO RİVERS_Husamettin Bahce2693.JPG
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