Turkey’s deputy prime minister said Tuesday that the Greek Cypriots on the divided island do not intend to use the fresh water provided via pipeline from Turkey to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Recep Akdag, who is also responsible for the TRNC’s economic development on behalf of Turkey, said there are currently no plans for the Greek Cypriots to use the water supplied by Mersin, Turkey.
"The Greek Cypriot side has no intention to do any work with the TRNC. Why talk about an intention which doesn’t exist?” said Akdag.
"There are even some foolish Greek Cypriot politicians and leading figures who say they would rather drink poison rather than Turkish water," Akdag said.
Akdag said that if the Greek Cypriots pursue harmonious ties with the TRNC, they could benefit from this water.
"We want the island to be an island of peace. We want to reach a solution and formation of a government based on equal rights between the two societies," Akdag said.
The project to send fresh water to Turkish Cyprus via an 80-kilometer (50-mile) pipeline under the Mediterranean began in October 2015. Under the project, some 75 million cubic meters of fresh water is set to be sent each year for a total of 50 years.
Free hospital project in TRNC
Akdag also said that a project to build a free hospital in Lefkosa, the TRNC’s capital, is being deliberately misrepresented.
"Some circles give misinformation to the people of the TRNC on this topic. They do it deliberately. These people are hostile to Turkey and the Turkish nation. They are hostile to our brothers living in the TRNC," he said.
Dismissing a rumor saying the hospital will charge for its healthcare services, Akdag said, "Such a thing is definitely nonexistent."
Akdag said the hospital's health care will be both free and provided through the latest technology.
The interior of the hospital will span 200,000 square meters, he added.
The Eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks, and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was declared on Nov. 15, 1983.
Turkey blamed Greek Cypriot intransigence after the latest peace initiative in Switzerland collapsed this July.
Reporting by Ali Kemal Akan:Writing by Fatih Hafiz Mehmet