Istanbul – Turkey provides water for Peace.

North Cyprus Properties
24-04-2014

2014 will see the realisation of a long-standing project by mainland Turkey to supply much-needed fresh drinking water to the drier areas across the Middle East – with North Cyprus as the first to receive this precious commodity!

The first phase involves the construction of an undersea pipeline to pump 75 million cubic metres of much-needed water per year from the Anamur River of southern Turkey to Northern Cyprus – and is scheduled to be completed by 20th July this year, according to TRNC and Turkish government spokesmen.  This date will be the 40th Anniversary of the creation of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. The government of North Cyprus is keen to share this with the whole of Cyprus if such a situation can be worked into the new peace agreements which are on the table.

The 90 kilometre pipeline "can be taken as a pilot project" that Turkey could in fact replicate in other areas of the Middle East, according to Hassan Gungor, undersecretary for the presidency of the TRNC.  Academic Ibrahim Gurer, a hydrologist at Gazi University in Ankara has claimed that Turkey’s ambition is technically feasible. "And it's possible not only for Cyprus, but also for other countries like Israel or even Libya. It is not a distant dream."

It has not all been easy.  There have been disputes over Turkey’s water wealth in recent years – with neighbours Syria and Iraq claiming that dam projects in Turkey have reduced the amount of water which their countries receive from the rivers which flow into their countries.  However, Ankara has replied by saying that the water demands of its two southern neighbours are not practical.

In fact, factors such as climate change and reducing water resources have forced states in the eastern Mediterranean into a closer level of cooperation, says Dursun Yildiz, a water expert at the Working Group on Earth, Water, Energy, an NGO group in Turkey.  "Climate change is everybody's problem," he says, pointing out that all countries are now interlinked by their need to manage the earth’s precious water supply.

Since commencing work on the North Cyprus water pipeline project in 2008, Turkey's government has indicated its desire to export fresh water to other areas in the Middle East. Such exported water could be provided by rivers running from the Taurus mountain range in southern Turkey, down towards the Mediterranean.  Palestine is another potential recipient of the Turkish water, which would be delivered by tanker. Although some past controversial water export projects have failed due to political disagreements, Mr. Yildiz points out that advances in technology have put international water projects back on the agenda. "Technological development is helping to bring down costs," he said.  His view is that future water exports to the Middle East are more likely to involve land based pipelines rather than under-sea pipelines as in the Cyprus project, because land-based transport is much less expensive.

Sadly the civil war in Syria and instability in Iraq have so far curtailed plans to increase water exports from Turkey.  "But we have to look beyond today, we have to look to tomorrow and the day after tomorrow," Mr Yildiz said. 

 

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