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Water war could leave Turkish Cyprus high and dry

A fight over profits has disrupted the water supply from Turkey to Turkish Cyprus less than three months after a unique water pipeline was inaugurated, threatening to leave Turkish Cypriots with neither water nor vital financial aid from Ankara.
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ANKARA, Turkey — The latest four-year economic assistance protocol between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots expired on Dec. 31, 2015. The agreement was supposed to be renewed for the 2016-18 period, but the two sides failed to agree on its terms. As a result, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is recognized only by Ankara and relies on its assistance to survive financially, failed to pay the traditional 13th salaries and pensions of its public employees and retirees at the year-end as well as supply certain funds for farmers.

Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has conditioned the renewal of the aid protocol on an agreement regarding the distribution, sale and billing of the water that Turkey recently began pumping to the drought-stricken TRNC. What was promoted as “the project of the century” became operational in October. It involves an 80-kilometer (50-mile) undersea pipeline built at a depth of 250 meters (820 feet) in the Mediterranean Sea to carry 75 million cubic meters of water annually from the Dragos Creek in Turkey’s southern Mersin province to the Gecitkoy Dam on the northern Turkish Cypriot coast.

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