Cyprus “peace water” project: how it could affect Greek-Turkish relations on the island

A water pipeline between Turkey and northern Cyprus was recently completed, despite criticism from some Greek Cypriot politicians that the project would increase Turkey’s influence over the north of the island. Rebecca Bryant writes that the project represents part of Turkey’s long-term strategy to increase development in the north, preparing it for an agreement to end the division of the island, but also making it prepared to stand on its own. She argues that Greek Cypriots nevertheless carry some of the blame for Turkey’s growing influence over northern Cyprus and that they should focus on developing new and urgent policies regarding the north rather than delaying engagement until after a solution is reached.

On 17 October, on a bluff overlooking the north Cyprus shore, supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkish Cypriot nationalists, and the simply curious gathered to watch Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders inaugurate the ‘project of the century.’ As women who had waited too long for Erdoğan’s arrival began to faint from the heat, leaders gave speeches and opened a pump, as they had done only a couple of hours earlier in the Turkish city of Anamur. This was ceremonial, however, since water was already gushing, making its way across 66.5 kilometres of sea and filling a dam in north Cyprus the size of a small city.

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