Home > Urmiya gölü (Urmia Lake) > Drying of the Urmia Lake and scorched earth policy in south Azerbaijan?

Drying of the Urmia Lake and scorched earth policy in south Azerbaijan?


A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area. Although initially referring to the practice of burning crops to deny the enemy food sources, in its modern usage the term includes the destruction of infrastructure such as shelter, transportation, communications and industrial resources. The practice may be carried out by an army in enemy territory, or its own home territory. It is done for purely strategic/political reasons rather than strategic/operational reasons.

Urmia Lake (Turkish Urmu Gölü; Persian daryacheh Urmiyeh) in south Azerbaijan, northwestern Iran, is the largest salty lake inside Iran and the second biggest salty lake in the world. In the Turkic languages of the area the lake’s name, Urmu, referring to Sumerian word “Ur” that means city and there is a historical city with Urmu in western coastline of lake. A body of water with no outlet, the lake is fed by twelve large and small rivers, the jighati chay (Turkish and historical name is Cığati çay and persianazed name is Zarrinehrood) and Tatao chay (Turkish and historical name is Tatao çay and persianazed name is Siminenehrood) rivers from the south are largest and important source of inlet water. The rivers have been heavily diverted for crop irrigation and industrial and drinking uses during the past several decades, reducing the size of the lake by more than 25 percent since 1970. The resulting environmental changes pose a serious threat to the local ecology and human health. As a result, advancing salt winds and storms of salt and a large area of fertile agricultural lands will be destroyed. Also more than twenty cities and tens of thousands of villages around the cities and lake will be empty. In addition, in such a situation many diseases and cancers will prevalence and many social and economic problems will be created for Azerbaijan.

Fortunately, Azerbaijani people have started an awakening movement that consists of cultural activities, tendency to Azerbaijani identity, showing close attention to ecological and historical resources. Along with academic criticism, general public of Azerbaijan protest tragic situation of Urmia Lake and for example protesting meeting of Azerbaijanis was performed in coastline of lake in 2th April that were faced with harsh reaction of security forces. Most important protestors of crisis of Urmia Lake are fans of Tractor sazi football club those exhibit their protest in stadiums. Their slogan about drying of the Urmia Lake is: “gəlin gedax ağlıyax—urmu gölün doldurax” that means: Let’s go and cry— fill lake up with our tears.

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