Prime ministers of Turkey, Turkish Cyprus discuss electricity link
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
AA photoTurkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Turkish Cyprus Prime Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün have discussed progress in the construction of an undersea electricity cable between the two countries, Özgürgün told state-run Anadolu Agency in an interview on Jan. 3.
Turkey and Turkish Cyprus on Oct. 11 signed an energy protocol that foresaw the construction of an undersea electricity cable link between the countries.
After meeting his Turkish counterpart in Ankara, Özgürgün said they had discussed the steps needed to develop mutual projects further.
“We discussed the electricity cable link project at the meeting,” he said.
“Previously, we had a link for telecommunications and water and now is the time for electricity. We hope to have this interconnected electricity system in Turkish Cyprus.”
The collaborative efforts between the two sides include Turkey’s water supply project launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when he was prime minister in 2011.
Acknowledging that the water project had created a very positive outcome on the island, Özgürgün said the electricity project was also an essential project for the island.
The water agreement allows the transfer of fresh water for the next 50 years. The first fresh water from Turkey to Turkish Cyprus was sent in October 2015 and has continued unabated since.
Özgürgün expressed his optimism following the meeting with Erdoğan and Yıldırım in Ankara.
“I have seen that we have full consensus both on the Cyprus issue and on financial and economic policies, investments and internal matters between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus,” Özgürgün said.
Reunification talks will take place in Geneva on Jan. 9 to reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible, followed by a conference on Cyprus on Jan. 12 with the potential participation of Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. as the guarantor powers.
“While not seeing a definite statement on the issue, I think Greece will attend the meeting at prime ministerial level. The U.K. might be attending at foreign minister level as a guarantor country,” Özgürgün said.
He did not provide details on who would attend from the Turkish side.
“This is at the discretion of Turkey, however, we will be there both as the government and the political parties of Turkish Cyprus,” he added.
He said that Turkish Cyprus has strategic importance for Turkey given recent terrorist attacks in the region and developments in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel.
“The Turkish Cyprus issue is a strategic and national issue,” he said, adding that it is also key to the balance in the eastern Mediterranean region.
Reunification discussions resumed in May 2015 and both sides had previously said they hoped for a solution by the end of 2016. Once a final agreement is reached, it will be put to both the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities in a referendum.