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Cyprus Talks

Akinci says water could be a “peace project”

By Evie Andreou

BY THE end of the year water from Turkey will be distributed throughout the north, Turkey’s forestry and water minister Veysel Eroglu said on Friday, at the special ceremony for the fitting of the last piece of the 80km water pipe that connects southern Turkey to Kyrenia.

The project will be inaugurated at a later date by Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci who yesterday said it could be a “peace project”. “We talk about the green island but we never seen green. Even when we brush our teeth we have a problem,” he said.

Eroglu, who arrived in the north in the morning, said that the project which cost more than €500m, is in fact the brainchild of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

According to daily Yeni Duzen, Eroglu accompanied by the Turkish Ambassador in the north Derya Kanbay and ‘agriculture minister’ Onder Sennaroglu, watched the fitting of the last 500metres of the pipeline from a ship off the coast of Kyrenia.

The next stage will be lowering the newly-fitted pipe into the sea, emptying the seawater and starting to supply fresh water.

Upon completion, the ‘Northern Cyprus Water Supply Project’ is estimated to supply the north around 75 million cubic metres of water per year for consumer consumption and irrigation.

Most of the land infrastructure – reservoirs and pumping – has been constructed both in northern Turkey and in Kyrenia, while a receptor station has already been built in the Vavylas area, along with a 3.5km-long pipe to the dam in Panagra. A network of pipes will send the drinking water to all regions in the north, through a treatment plant in Myrtou.

Turkey’s duty ends at the Panagra dam, Eroglu said, while distribution of the water would be the duty of authorities in the north.

According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Turkey will start pumping water to the north in ten days.

The first water will reach Nicosia by the end of October, and by the end of the year, water will be distributed throughout the north of the island, Eroglu said. He added that following the water project, next in line would be the transmission of electricity from Turkey to the north.

Responding to a question whether the south of the island could also benefit from the water from Turkey, he said that it was up to the Turkish Cypriot administration, but if needed, a second pipeline could be laid.

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