Turkey offers water to Greek Cyprus to contribute to peace on island

Turkey offers water to Greek Cyprus to contribute to peace on island

Turkey offers water to Greek Cyprus to contribute to peace on island

The water to be carried to Turkish Cyprus will be taken from the Alaköprü Dam. AA photo

Turkey has officially begun to supply fresh water to Turkish Cyprus via a much awaited pipeline project, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan saying the water may be shared with the Greek side of the divided island. 

“If the south [Greek Cyprus] says ‘We also want to utilize this water,’ we will carry them water, calling it ‘peace water,’” said Erdoğan in Cyprus.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of Alakopru Dam, which is part of a project which aimed to carry fresh water from Turkey to Turkish Cyprus via a pipeline, on Oct. 17, the president added that Turkish Cyprus will “no longer experience shortages of drinking water and agricultural irrigation for a half a century.” 

Around 75 million cubic meters of water are expected to be sent to Turkish Cyprus from a dam in southern Turkey via a pipeline.

Speaking at the ceremony, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said the project had cost 1.6 billion Turkish liras ($576.3 million).

“We built a magnificent water bridge. This time, we are linking Girne [also known as Kyrenia, a city in Turkish Cyprus] with Anatolia via water,” said Davutoğlu.

He also said the water will bring “peace” to the island.

Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and Prime Minister Ömer Kalyoncu were also in attendance.

During his speech at the ceremony, Akıncı said the pipeline would lead to growth for Turkish Cyprus’ economy. 

“Today is a milestone. We have to use this water effectively,” he added at another opening ceremony of another dam in Gecitkoy [also known as Panagra] on Oct. 17 in Nicosia.

At the ceremony in Nicosia, Erdoğan called the project a “proud investment.”

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 by Greece was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.

Long-stalled negotiations to find a way to settle the conflict resumed May 15.

Erdoğan said Oct. 17 that Turkey has been “sincere” in finding a solution to the issue.

“No one can ignore this fact: that the Turkish Cypriot [side] is the part that always wants fair, persistent and sustainable peace on the island,” said Erdoğan.