Leaked secret document reveals new water project will factor into south Cyprus property claims
Ömer Bilge - NICOSIA
AA photoA secret document, prepared by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and leaked by the Greek Cypriot Intelligence Services, has claimed that the new fresh water pipeline from Turkey to the TRNC will enable northern Cyprus to raise its national income, making more difficult for southern Cyprus to claim properties according to international law.
Turkey has officially begun to supply fresh water to northern Cyprus via a much-awaited pipeline project on Oct. 17. Around 75 million cubic meters of water are expected to be sent to northern Cyprus from the Alaköprü Dam in southern Turkey via the pipeline.
According to the leaked document, which was prepared in 2011 when the pipeline’s foundation had been laid, the project will increase property prices and national income in the TRNC, making it difficult for southern Cyprus to take properties it has long claimed on the northern side.
The document, only small part of which was released by a southern Cypriot paper, was prepared by Serden Hoca, former TRNC President Derviş Eroğlu’s negotiator over the property issue.
The document must have been in the hands of the TRNC Presidency and Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sources told daily Hürriyet. The original copy is composed of three separate documents. The leaked documents include parts from all three.
According to the documents, the fresh water will be used in the non-arable lands of northern Cyprus short-term to make them available for agricultural production. The value of the TRNC lands would then rise by at least 10 percent, gradually rising further. The documents also said the fresh water piped from Turkey will be quite enough to meet the needs of southern Cyprus as well. If the southern side uses the water, the water income will be used to resolve the property issues in Cyprus, according to the document.
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot administration in the north and a Greek Cypriot one in the south after a Greek-inspired 1974 military coup was followed by the intervention of Turkey.
Long-stalled negotiations to settle the conflict resumed May 15 of this year.