Exploring friendship in hydropolitics: The case of the friendship dam on the Asi/Orontes river
“Friendship dams” are an explicit, yet underexplored, materialization of hydropolitics that illustrate the potential role of water in international cooperation. Via a case study analysis of the Syria-Turkey Friendship Dam project proposed for the Asi/Orontes river, we trace the process of cooperation that led to the use of this notion of “friendship” in transboundary cooperation. Using a transversal analysis of different phases of cooperation and non-cooperation, we consider broad, big-picture political and diplomatic factors related to water and beyond. Our analysis shows that two key variables shaped how water was used as an instrument of cooperation in this case: (1) security and (2) the dynamics of international cooperation undertaken by the riparians, namely Turkey. The friendship dam label can be considered a manifestation of strategic international friendship that the two riparian countries invoked to achieve security and bilateral cooperation.