Ministry denies cutoff of Cyprus water pipeline

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 20.11.2015 22:22

Turkish authorities denied reports that water supplies to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) from Turkey were suspended over a dispute with TRNC leadership. Various Turkish and Turkish Cyprus media outlets had claimed that freshwater inflow from Turkey via a pipeline was stopped over a dispute about who will manage the pipeline. Media reports had claimed Turkey shut down the supplies after Turkish Cypriot leadership opposed the Turkish plan to hand over management of the pipeline to a private company and insisted on management rights to be handed to the municipalities that the pipeline runs through.

The Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry, which oversaw the construction and operation of the water pipeline, denied this was the case, and suspension of supplies is part of routine tests. A statement by the ministry said it was a technical issue and a regular procedure applicable in every new pipeline. "Water is gradually supplied as more tests are needed. Currently, the low water level will be increased after tests are concluded," the statement said, ruling out any dispute between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus over the management.

The 80-kilometer-long water pipeline cost TL 1.6 billion ($565.7 million) and was inaugurated in October. The project, officially known as the Northern Cyprus Water Supply Project, is the first underwater pipeline between the mainland and an island in the world, as it physically connects Turkish territory to the Mediterranean island. It aims to address the chronic water shortage Turkish Cypriots have suffered from since the 1950s. It is also touted as a move to further accelerate the peace process on an island divided between Turkish and Greek Cypriots.

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