News

Turkish water comes to Northern Cyprus despite the naysayers

By Chris Elliott…….

The project of the century was officially started in 2011 when the then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan laid the foundation of the Alaköprü Dam over the Dragos river in Mersin.

For cyprusscene, I have been following the development of the Turkish water project and with approval of the DSI  (Turkish Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs), I visited the TRNC Guzelyalı coastal pumping station complex, the Geçiköy dam complex and the Çamlıbel water treatment plant and was able to write about this experience click here.

DSI water complexes

Following on from this I was able to go to sea on a small tug to board a larger support vessel and view, experience and write about the joining of the TRNC to Turkey water pipeline click here.

Joining the pipeline

So it was that on Saturday the 17th October I drove to the Çamlıbel water treatment plant and to say the least I was just totally amazed at the site that befell me. Driving to Çamlıbel along the coast road from Kyrenia, I saw increasing numbers of police along the way and upon arrival, I queued to go into one of two entrances where  my vehicle was checked and then I arrived at a massive field which was being used for car and coach parking. From here I walked with many hundreds of people to the initial checkpoint where my camera bags were inspected  and then onto another checkpoint where men and women were separated and checked through at which point I was directed to the media entrance which entailed a further check before I was able to enter the main area where I was able to walk round to the media enclosure which was in front of the male and female spectator enclosures.

The people and media gather for the big event

Being at the front it was possible to see so many VIPs arriving and the excitement in the atmosphere was steadily increasing until two helicopters swooped over the complex and one of these would have contained President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from Turkey. By now the tension and excitement was increasing by the minute and when President Erdogan finally arrived in a car and entered the arena and took to the stage to wave to the crowd, the response was just plainly electrifying.  For those at the rear of the crowd there was a constant showing of a DIS project video on a giant screen and of course the speeches by those that made them.

Following on from this, there were speeches by various dignitaries, including TRNC President Mustafa Akinci and finally by President Erdogan of Turkey who again lifted the spirit of the huge crowd by his words which as  a non-Turkish speaker I cannot report.

The ceremony is completed

Following  the closure of the event as I made my way out through the complex I was able to pause and take photos of water filling up one of the huge tanks of the Camlibel water treatment plant.

Having experienced what is perhaps the final act in this fantastic project I was reminded of the past and what the naysayers had said. “It will never happen”, “We want none of this water”, It’s illegal to bring water in from Turkey.

One thing is for sure that now the water has arrived and the final stage of the distribution network is being installed and when the water starts to flow in the months ahead it’s going to be a real game changer in the Cyprus  negotiations with the TRNC having an incredible asset (water) being shared with them by Turkey although we have yet to see who will manage the future distribution of the water.

Water project

With other ongoing reports of the Republic of Cyprus wanting more from a peace settlement and not willing to give as much to the TRNC, the prospect of a solution is still very uncertain. We also hear talk of the TRNC planning to change over to the Euro when it becomes part of the EU which is causing a fierce debate by those who feel they have most to lose by this changeover.

Finally in the past few days we have seen Angela Merkel the German Chancellor travel to Turkey to talk to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and asked for support on the international immigration problem and it was also reported that Turkey may get help to fast track its accession entry into the EU.

To the naysayers and rejectionists, we have seen how Turkey with great skill and perseverance has planned and implemented the Turkey to Northern Cyprus pipeline and one must ask the question, what other long term projects do they have in development?

3 replies »

  1. Whilst getting the water here from Turkey is a wonderful achievement and one that few of us believed would happen in our lifetimes, it is of course “not the final act in the fantastic project. Laying the pipes correctly, making good the vast areas dug up in an environmentally acceptable way (rather than leaving an eyesore) and maintaining and managing the system efficiently (and fairly) may be a greater challenge than getting the water here in the first place. Let’s not forget the disproportionate disruption and the many failed attempts over numerous years it took to complete around 10kms of bypass ! I hope I am wrong because it is such a fantastic opportunity and those who have made it possible so far should be congratulated.

  2. We are sharing below a fine comment made in Facebook by Emine Hassan against the cyprusscene article and this overcomes our inability to convey what was said in the Turkish language speeches at this fantastic event.

    “Emine Hassan

    It was a historical event. Thousands attended to witness this historical event in Anamur in Turkey and at Gecitkoy in TRNC.

    Our Prime Minister Kalyoncu said motherland shares food with us, now motherland is also sharing water with us. President Akinci gave a long supportive speech and said we are brushing our teeth and cooking with salty water , women complain that beans take so long to cook. We need the water to live normally. WATER IS LIFE.

    President Erdogan was met With Lots Of Love, affection and praise as grateful people wanted to show their love respect and gratitude. Erdogan gave details if the project and indicated that if the Greeks want water industry in the south, we call its water of peace and forward water to the south too.

    Both Presidents plus the two previous Presidents of TRNC namely Eroglu and Talat, ministers and politicians Kalyoncu, Sibel Siber, Emine Colak who were there plus the martyrs were all invited to the stage by Erdogan and everybody together started the mechanism for the water to flow.”

    The huge screen showed the event and as the water gushed out people cheered, sang, cried and laughed all together. This was the first time I saw people of different politics right and left CTP, UBP all uniting, hugging and laughing together with joy. Then lots of people went to the water. Some people drank it some just wet their faces. It was cold and sweet. everybody took photos.

    The President was right. WATER IS LIFE AND IT BROUGHT THE PEOPLE TOGETHER. Maybe that is the reason the Greek Cypriots and a small group of their comrades in TRNC are not happy.”