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Row over Turkey’s water supply to TRNC continues

4 December 2015

Turkey has submitted a written proposal regarding the administration of the water, which is being supplied by the mainland to the TRNC through undersea pipelines.

Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Yeni Duzen’ reports that this proposal was a demand for an “additional economic protocol”. Turkey has asked TRNC Prime Minister Omer Kalyoncu to sign it, but he has asked to be allowed to evaluate it.

The proposal was submitted to Kalyoncu and President Mustafa Akinci during the recent visits by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and other Turkish Ministers to the TRNC.

Turkey demanded the following in its written proposal:

  • The water will be administered by Turkey’s State Water Affairs Department (DSI) until a new formula is produced.
  • DSI will administrate both drinking water and water used for agricultural purposes.
  • If DSI wishes, it may invite tenders for the administration of the water by a private company in Turkey.
  • In return, Turkey will cover the expenses for the infrastructure investments.
  • The municipalities will be given a share of the revenues after expenses are subtracted.
  • The sale price of the water is not determined. It is said that the price will be calculated taking into consideration the investment, operation and restoration costs and the profit.

The additional protocol demand means that Turkey will administrate the water and that it expresses the intention of privatising the water through Turkey’s Water Affairs Department, the newspaper writes, adding that the obvious conclusion is that intends to manage the water supply.

Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Havadis’ reports that the administration of the water remains a “serious problem” between the CTP and its coalition partner, the National Unity Party (UBP) on the one hand and between the TRNC and Turkey, on the other.

Describing Turkey’s proposal as “surprising”, the paper writes that the CTP-wing of the government had prepared and sent to Turkey a draft law for an “autonomous water authority”. This draft-law has not even been discussed by the AK Party government, notes the paper, adding that the Turkish delegations which recently visited the island submitted a proposal saying that the water should be administered by DSI’s office in the TRNC.

The CTP does not accept the idea of privatisation, while Turkey does not accept the establishment of a company named BESKI, established by the TRNC municipalities to administrate the water. The other coalition partner, the UBP and its mayors have reportedly changed their mind on the issue of the establishment of BESKI and insist on implementing the build-operate-transfer model.

Today UBP’s parliamentary group and mayors will hold a meeting to decide on the issue. They are expected to support Turkey on this issue.

Yeni Duzen, Havadis

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