In the continuing dispute over who should manage water distribution in the TRNC, Turkey’s Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry issued a written statement.
It said that the TRNC had agreed to abide by the Build-Operate-Transfer model and that there would be a transitional period when water from Turkey would be operated by the DSI.
A delegation from the Turkish State Water Affairs Department (DSI) visited the TRNC on 24th December and met with the North’s finance minister and others, the statement said. It recalled that the issue had been agreed at that time and previously discussed on 1st December, when Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited the island accompanied by the Minister of Water Affairs Veysel Eroglu.
In addition, the ministry said that water was still being transferred to Gecitkoy Dam and refuted allegations published in the press that the water was simply pouring into the sea. The statement went on to say that this water is replenishing underground resources and should the TRNC comply over the water management issue, then water could immediately be conveyed to Nicosia.
The statement further reminded that according to the framework agreement signed between Turkey and the TRNC on 19th July 2010, the water from Turkey would be stored in Gecitkoy dam and the remaining installations, such as treatment facilities, pumping stations, water tanks and distribution networks, would be built by the TRNC.
It goes on to say that the TRNC delayed the building of these installations, upon Minister Eroglu’s suggestion and the then Prime Minister Erdogan’s instructions. The DSI invited tenders and built two pumping stations, a treatment facility for drinking water, water tanks and 477-kilometer long distribution pipelines.
The Ministry said: “During the opening of the project on 17th October 2015 by our esteemed President of the Republic, the operation of the water was discussed, the issue of renovating the drinking water infrastructure within the towns came onto the agenda because of inadequate infrastructure and a suggestion was submitted by our Minister Veysel Eroglu that the infrastructure investments and the operation could be conducted by DSI for a certain period. A high level delegation from the TRNC administration said that it would visit Turkey the following week to discuss the issue, but this event never took place.”