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Protesters ask Kalyoncu not to sign water agreement

3 March 2016

A protest was organised at Ercan airport against the signing of the water agreement with Turkey on Tuesday evening.

Organised by the Social Democracy Party (TDP) youth organisation and the Baraka Cultural Centre, the protest coincided with Prime Minister Omer Kalyoncu’s departure for Turkey to sign the water management agreement with Ankara.

Chairman Cemal Ozyigit of the TDP also called on Kalyoncu not to sign the agreement which he described as “treachery against the Turkish Cypriot people”. In statements to the press yesterday, Ozyigit said that if Kalyoncu signs the agreement, the TDP will not abandon its struggle on the water issue.

Describing the water, conveyed by undersea pipeline from Turkey, as “a great need for the country” and thanking everybody who contributed to the project, Ozyigit argued that the Turkish Cypriots are ready to buy, distribute and manage the water.

He accused the government of succumbing to pressure on this issue. He said that in the second amendment of the agreement, only the wording had changed. He noted that the municipalities will “lose their function”, pointing out that “the company will collect even the municipalities’ revenue”.

In addition, the Water Platform, which consists of 40 organisations, handed over a letter on Tuesday to Kalyoncu’s office saying that they will never allow the privilege of administration and distribution of the water to be given to a private company. The platform expressed the view that the water should be managed by protecting the interests of the public and future generations and not the interests of private companies or persons.

Finally, in a written statement, Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers’ Trade Union (KTOS), likened the agreement to a “second Treaty of Sevres”, accusing the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) of doing things which “submissive” parties such as the National Unity Party and the Democratic Party did not dare to do.

Elcil noted that the Assembly, established after the 1974 Turkish military intervention in Cyprus for governing the Turkish Cypriots, has been turned into a mechanism which implements Turkey’s integration policies. He claimed that Ankara installs whatever ever party it wishes into government and uses the elections in North Cyprus to deceive the world.

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