Turkish President Erdogan will arrive in North Cyprus by helicopter this lunch time to inaugurate the Turkish water project which will supply water to the TRNC. His visit will be under tight security and he will return to the mainland in the evening.
Meanwhile the project remains steeped in controversy. An agreement was signed between the TRNC and Turkey in 2010 that management of the water would be undertaken by a private company qualified in running build-operate-transfer models.
Since which time the TRNC government has challenged these conditions and asked for the management rights of the project to be given to the local authorities.
Cyprus News Agency reports that the head of the Turkish Cypriot union of municipalities Ahmet Benli said managing and operating the water were two separate things and added that in a democracy, the management is always the peoples’ and the operating is always the state’s or the private sector’s.
Benli added that the current price of water is between 45 and 50 Kurus per litre. Under the plan the water could cost consumers between 60 and 80 Kurus per litre after factoring in all the expenses involved.
On the other side of the divide, Greek Cypriot Agricultural Minister Nicos Kouyialis has said that the project was illegal and an arbitrary move. The only intention was to increase Turkey’s grip on North Cyprus.
The minister rejected suggestions of sharing the water with the North since needs were three to four times higher than the pipeline’s capacity.
He said that the North could have managed its water shortages by the use of desalination plants which were a cheaper option.
South Cyprus uses four desalination plants and a network of dams to meet its water needs.