World Bulletin/News Desk
Both states on the island of Cyprus have equal rights to all natural resources, the energy minister for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus said on Friday.
Hakan Dincyurek, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, insisted that his government would not give up rights to natural resources on and around the island.
"This is a red line for us," Dincyurek said, speaking at the Atlantic Council Energy and Economy Summit in Istanbul.
Energy policy has a critical effect on international relations, Dincyurek explained. That is the reason for the Greek Cypriot administration's efforts to cooperate with other states in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Greek Cypriot administration suspended peace talks, making the excuse that the Turkish side was engaging in hydrocarbon exploration, and refusing every possible solution to achieve permanent peace, Dincyurek said.
The Greek Cypriot administration was the side that preferred to leave the negotiating table, making a number of excuses to no longer seek peace and declining any solution within the Annan Plan -- U.N. proposal for a unified Cyprus named after former Secretary General Kofi Annan -- and blocking any kind of agreement, Dincyurek said.
"We are at the table and we extend our hand for peace. But we are determined to take steps to protect our rights to resources on and around the island as well," Dincyurek insisted.
The negotiations between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration resumed after a two-year pause in February 2013. The previous round of talks had been suspended, because of the Euro-zone debt crisis and the Greek Cypriot side's turn to take over the EU presidency in 2012.
However, the Greek-Cypriot administration suspended the talks about the divided island on Oct. 7, after Turkey sent a ship for oil-and-gas exploration to the waters off the coast of Cyprus.
Water Procurement Pipeline from Turkey to Cyprus
"We need 60 days to complete the water procurement project to Cyprus from Turkey," Dincyurek said.
Dincyurek said that one of the most important phases of the project is the part involving crossing the sea, but the hardest parts of that phase are now completed. Twenty-three kilometers out of 80 kilometers is already finished, and the rest of project is finalized so that water may be brought to Cyprus in two months.
A total of 75 million cubic meters of water will be transferred annually from the Alakopru Dam on the Anamur-Dragon watercourse in Turkey's Mersin province to Gecitkoy Dam, which is near Girne, in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. About half of the 75 million cubic meters of water transferred will be drinking water, and the rest will be used for irrigation purposes. When the project is completed, the water needs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will be met for 50 years.
Increasing the use of renewable energy is a priority of the government. The Besparmak Mountains, which are on the north side of the island, have significant potential for wind-energy generation. “As the environment minister, it is my duty to develop such resources,” Dincyurek said.
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