|Turkey to build water pipeline to North Cyprus|
|Turkey launched on Friday a long-standing project to build a pipeline under the Mediterranean to supply water to the breakaway Turkish Cypriot statelet in northern Cyprus, the Anatolia news agency said. Officials signed a $9.5-million deal with a contractor company for the 78-kilometer conduit that will run at a depth of 250 meters and carry 75 million cubic meters of water per year, the agency said.
The construction of the pipeline and the related facilities on the two shores are due for completion in 27 months, but it is not clear yet when the conduit will become operational, an Energy Ministry spokesman said.
One fifth of the annual supply would be used as drinking water and the rest for irrigation to revitalize agriculture in the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), whose economy is hard hit by international sanctions.
Turkey, the only country to recognize the TRNC, has long propped up the enclave, which has a population of about 200,000 people.
The pipeline will run from the southern Turkish province of Mersin, on the Mediterranean coast across from Cyprus, to the Gecitkoy area, near the northern Cypriot port of Kyrenia.
In the late 1990s, Turkey sought to resolve the water shortage in the TRNC by transporting water to the island in huge plastic balloons, but the project soon proved inefficient and was abandoned.
The government in the southern, Greek sector of the island is internationally recognized and last year joined the European Union.
Beirut,10 10 2005
The Daily Star