Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Cyprus affairs Recep Akdağ, has said that Ankara and Turkish Cyprus will decide on a political solution together, commenting on a recent suggestion for a “Monaco-like” autonomy.
“Turkey and Turkish Cyprus will decide on a political solution together,” Akdağ told daily Milliyet in parliament on 9 October.
Akdağ’s remarks came after Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu suggested a “Monaco-like” autonomous system for the Turkish side of the divided island, which will depend on Ankara for defence and international issues.
“An autonomous republic where Turkey may be responsible for the defence and foreign affairs but other affairs are within the rule of the republic, just as in the France-Monaco model or U.K.-Gibraltar model,” Ertuğruloğlu proposed at the International Republican Institute (IRI) meeting in Washington on 3 October.
When asked about Ertuğruloğlu’s comments, Akdağ said “it was stated as an idea.”
“It’s a statement like ‘Something like this can happen.’ It was stated as an idea. Within the framework of this idea and similar ones, Turkey and Turkish Cyprus will decide on a political solution,” he said.
“It is time to seek international recognition. Until now, we have shied away from doing so,” said Ertuğruloğlu. He added that the idea of a federal Cyprus has died and a confederation is at best what seems possible.
Akdağ also commented on the transfer of drinking water from Turkey to North Cyprus and rejected claims about water being wasted.
“The water flowing from Turkey to Cyprus is not wasted. There are 75 million cubic meters of water at the moment. There is a need for 35 million cubic meters of drinking water here. The people of Cyprus are now drinking the 35 million cubic meters of water. Maybe there are spots the water does not reach, which corresponds to nearly 5%, but we can say it reaches everywhere,” he also said.
Drinking water is transferred through pipes under the sea as part of a cooperation deal reached between Turkey and State Water Affairs (DSİ) and the municipalities take the water from the DSİ, Akdağ noted. The project was “a magnificent engineering success”, he said.
“They distribute the water to the people just like in Turkey. The infrastructure of the majority of municipalities is not good enough. The network infrastructures need to change. We are currently working on their renovation. However, water is being drunk now. The majority of people have said, ‘Thank you for bringing us water.’ Before, groundwater was used but it lacked in quality and was insufficient,” he added.
“We need to congratulate the DSİ and our Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu. This water will constantly go to Turkish Cyprus. Even Greek Cyprus could use the water if needed in the future if a deal is reached,” Akdağ said. He added that there was also a project to import electricity from the mainland.
“An agreement in principle has been reached between our energy ministry and the Turkish Cypriot energy ministry. We will also bring electricity to Turkish Cyprus,” said Akdağ.