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Water wars jeopardises coalition in north

THE National Unity Party (UBP), which is part of the ‘government coalition’ in the north along with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), gave an ultimatum on Friday to the regime’s prime minister Omer Kalyoncu to resolve the water crisis by Wednesday or resign.

The management of water from Turkey has become a cause of friction between the two parties that form the ‘coalition government’ in the north as reports of imminent walkouts abound.

According to a statement published in the Turkish Cypriot media, following UBP’s general assembly where the water issue was discussed, the party called on Kalyoncu, who hails from CTP, to “solve the water by Wednesday the latest” or to resign.

The friction stems from disagreements between the two parties on the proposals discussed with Turkey as regards the management of water distribution which provides for the distribution by a private company or companies, under the supervision of the regime. The proceeds will go to this company or companies. One provision, according to which the company that will distribute the water will also have control over the north’s boreholes thus creating a water monopoly, is not accepted by the CTP, which refuses to sign the agreement. Earlier in the week, the UBP had given an ultimatum to CTP members to sign the agreement, or else it would walk out, thus dissolving the coalition.

The delay in signing the water agreement has also delayed the annual financial aid from Turkey as the economic protocol for 2016-2018, with which the water agreement is linked.

UBP’s announcement adds that this project is of vital importance for the future of the island. It also talks of an “artificial crisis”.

UBP’s chair Hüseyin Özgürgün was quoted by media in the north as saying that he asked for “full authority” from his party members and that after Wednesday he will use this power.

At the moment, the current ‘government’ continues, he said, however the public has come to a point where it is losing its patience.

Meanwhile, the head of the Democratic Party – National Forces (DP-UG) Serdar Denktash, was reported in Turkish Cypriot media earlier in the week as saying that his party would look positively at a coalition with the UBP.

Kalyoncu announced on Wednesday he was to travel to Turkey in the coming days to discuss the issue again.

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