Turkish Cypriots ‘have priority’ in water project

Turkish Cypriots ‘have priority’ in water project

Turkish Cypriots ‘have priority’ in water project

AA photo

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş said the Turkish Cypriot community held the priority for the water pumped through the Northern Cyprus Water Supply project, while other countries would also have the chance to receive water from the same project but only after the Turkish Cypriots met their demand. 

“The priority is [Turkish] Cyprus’,” state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Türkeş as saying on Jan. 13, while addressing Turkish ambassadors in a conference in Ankara. 

“Hopefully, we will also give [water] to the Greek Cypriot side too. Israel also needs [water], we can give it there too; it should be given [to Israel],” added Türkeş. 

The Northern Cyprus Water Supply project, also called “Barış Suyu” (Peace Water), was completed after the last pieces of the pipe were assembled in August 2015 in order to carry fresh water to Turkish Cyprus from the southern Turkish province of Mersin. Fresh water had first reached the island through the pipeline in October 2015, Turkish Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu had said.

Responding to questions after the conference, Türkeş clarified the possibility of other states, including Greek Cyprus and Israel, to receive water from the project would only exist after the Turkish Cypriot community met its demand. 

“Let’s give [the water] to the [Turkish] Cypriot citizens. If there is remaining [water] then we can talk about the demands from the Greek Cypriot administration and other countries, if they have such a demand,” said Türkeş. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said on Oct. 17, 2015, that the water could 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.