In the context of the geopolitical transformations in the 1980s, the Turkish ruling elites had to reassess Turkey’s security needs, which led to adopting a more assertive approach in Turkey’s Middle East politics. Turkey’s more assertive stance in Middle East affairs was not only driven by its changing threat perceptions, but it is also driven by the new opportunities. During his two-term tenure as Prime Minister between 1983 and 1989 and president until his death in 1993, Turgut Ozal was the architect of this view. Ozal argued that Turkey must depart from its low-profile foreign policy and it must establish good relations with its neighbouring countries in the Middle East. Turkey’s active engagement with these countries, Ozal argues, would also transform Turkey as a bridge between the West and the Middle East [61
]. In the context of this policy change, several water initiatives, including attempts to ease the tense relations with Syria concerning the Euphrates and Tigris Dispute, water pipeline initiatives were proposed by Turkey. By the end of the Cold War and onwards, the political development in the Middle East forced Turkey to prioritize the Middle East in its external relations. It is evident that after the Justice and Development Party (AKP, Turkish acronym) came to power, Ozal’s legacy is carried by the AKP. In the similar line with Ozal’s foreign policy doctrine, Turkey’s Middle East policy in the AKP era is based upon two main pillars; strengthening political relations with the neighbouring countries, also labelled as zero-problem policy formulated by Ahmet Davutoglu, the former Turkish foreign then prime minister and acting as a mediator to resolve the existing conflicts [62
]. Therefore, it is evident that Turkey’s water initiatives have been considered as a foreign policy tool to enhance cooperation and Turkey’s influential capacity in the region since the 1980s.
3.1. Opportunitizing the GAP: Understanding its International Dimension
The GAP is one of the largest regional development projects of its kind in the world based on extensive hydraulic development. The project consists of building 22 dams and 19 hydropower plants on the Euphrates and Tigris basin and it seeks to irrigate 1.693027 ha of land. The GAP is the greatest public investment initiative ever conducted by the Turkish governments in the history of Turkey. The project area corresponds to approximately 10% of Turkey’s total surface area, as well as its population [63
]. Concerning the international dimension of the GAP, the project provided Turkey a strategic advantage in the region owing to following reasons. First, Turkey, by being an upstream riparian state of the Euphrates and Tigris basin, enjoys a pivotal position, since approximately 75% of the entire watershed originates within the Turkish territory [65
]. These geographical and hydrological facts provide Turkey a strategic advantage in the basin. Second, Turkey has a considerable economic capacity and technical expertise regarding the hydraulic development, enabling her to finance and built large-scale hydraulic infrastructures. Apart from its resources, the Turkish government was able to secure international funds by using its political alliances in the past [66
]. Recently, privatisation has become another attractive model for Turkey to finance the hydraulic development projects [67
]. Third, Turkey has considerable military power along with its strategic alliance with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Therefore, downstream riparian states were unable to deter Turkey from building, carrying on the GAP. As Ahmet Davutoglu, the former Turkish Prime Minister argues in his prominent book, Strategic Depth
], Turkey has a supreme geopolitical and military advantage vis-a-vis Syria. Therefore, Syria cannot risk an armed conflict in the Euphrates and Tigris basin. Similar assessment can be made between Turkey and Iraq. Given Turkey’s great military might along with its strategic alliance with the NATO, risking a war for water or using bellicose statements are not viable options for Iraq either. Finally, Turkey’s bargaining position has also increased due to the de-stabilization in Iraq, and thereafter in Syria, since the 1980s. Since Iraq was preoccupied with a series of armed conflicts (Iran-Iraq War, Invasion of Kuwait followed by the UN intervention, the US invasion), it was only Syria that sought to balance Turkey’s water development attempts in the Euphrates and Tigris basin. While Iraq never returned to political stability after the US invasion, Syria also descended into chaos in the Arab Spring process [69
]. Apart from geopolitical and strategic advantages, the GAP would also provide Turkey a strategic position in the region. Dursun Yildiz, a former high-ranking DSI official and the head of the Hydropolitics Academy, emphasizes the enormous reservoir capacity which Turkey would reach upon the completion of the GAP [71
]. According to Yildiz the GAP would provide Turkey a strategic advantage in the region as Turkey can control the pivotal waters of the Euphrates and Tigris basin. He further argues that economic benefits gained through the GAP would enhance Turkey’s influence in the Middle East, since Turkey would gain significant socio-economic benefits via the GAP [72
]. Likewise, the official report, the Survey on Socio-Economic Development Levels of Provinces and Regions (2003), published by the State Planning Agency, shows that the Southeastern Anatolian region continues to be one of the least developed regions in terms of socio-economic development indices, as the Figure 1
, below, illustrates in the report below.
In this regard, the report also argues that socio-economic backwardness of the region is the main reason behind the immigration from the region. The report also states that the GAP would reverse this population movement by expanding irrigated agricultural fields, and by galvanizing agro-based industrial development in the region [73
It is also worth noting that the progress of the GAP has entered a new stage by 2000 and onwards owing to changes both internally and externally. Internally, after the AKP came to power in 2002, infrastructural development, such as building motorways, bridges, and dams have become a main strategy to retain the popular support to the ruling party. Turkey’s good economic performance in this period would enable the government to allocate more financial resources to revitalize the GAP, which had slowed down during the 1990s. As the AKP government further accelerated the privatisation in water resource development, which started by the 1980s and continued onwards [74
]. The growing involvement of the private sector and international capital in dam building in the world also provided an ample opportunity to the government for financing large hydraulic works in the GAP without draining its public resources. Externally, Turkey has faced no considerable challenges from the downstream riparian states due to the following reasons. As stated above Iraq and Syria had to deal with political struggles at the domestic level. Furthermore, Turkey has been able to continue the GAP in spite of the downstream activities to curb the project during the 1980s and 1990s. Therefore, some of the large-scale hydraulic infrastructures had already been realized in this period. The completed infrastructures have enabled further leverage to the Turkish government, and they have significantly increased their capacity to influence in the Euphrates and Tigris basin. For instance, considering the recent memoranda of understanding (MoU) signed between Turkey and Syria on water issues, it is safe to say that the Turkish government was able to impose its official position in these documents [10
]. Therefore, the opportunitisation logic is at work at the international level along with the securitisation logic at the domestic level in the GAP project.
However, Turkey’s hydraulic mission in the Euphrates and Tigris basin has certain limits.
The Turkish government regards water as a catalyst for cooperation rather than a source of conflict” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2018). However, Turkey’s hydraulic endeavours in the Euphrates and Tigris basin were considered as a significant threat by the downstream riparian states. Here, perceived identities played a vital role. For instance, according Baathist elites in Syria, Turkey does not pursue its policies but the policies of the foreign powers, primarily Israel and the US. In other words, Turkey is acting as a proxy agent of the West and using water to deprive its Arab neighbours [75
]. Therefore, the downstream riparian states, Syria and Iraq, adopted variety of counter bargaining power strategies, given that military solution is not an option for the downstream riparian countries. These strategies include curbing the international financing for the project, making indirect alliances with armed groups such as the PKK in Turkey, formal protests and official notes during bilateral and trilateral negotiations concerning water issues [76
]. In such a political context, the Turkish proposals, such as the Three-Stage Plan, which prospected inventory studies on land and water for each riparian state, were rejected by the downstream riparian states [77
]. Therefore, the GAP is regarded as an existential threat by the downstream riparian states, which would enable Turkey to establish a regional hegemony in spite of Turkey’s attempts to portray the project as a source of prosperity for the region.
3.2. Water Exports Initiatives to the Middle East: Using Water as a Foreign Policy Tool
As discussed in Section 2.1
, the dynamics of opportunitisation are not only at work at the transboundary water settings. In fact, when states acquire more technical expertise, political influence, and economic strengths, they might begin to introduce international water initiatives to extend their influence regionally and globally. In this regard, the Turkish governments have introduced several regional water initiatives in the Middle East during the 1980s and 1990s. These water initiatives, aiming at exporting large amounts of water from Turkey to the Middle East, were in line with Turkey’s Middle East policy of the 1980s. This article argues that as Turkey has adopted a more proactive involvement in the Middle East political affairs since the 1980s, these proposed water transfer projects were considered by the Turkish governments as effective strategic tools to increase its influence at the regional level.
One of the overarching rationales behind Turkey’s great hydraulic mission stems from the geographical, hydrological and climatic necessities. Eroglu, the minister of the Forestry and Water Affairs, has stated that since there are high-level seasonal fluctuations in Turkey’s rivers, it is imperative for Turkey to increase its reservoir capacity [78
]. Furthermore, Turkey’s water resources are also unevenly distributed. In other words, while there is water abundance in particular regions, there are water shortages in others. Water transfer projects are the primary solutions for this problem, which were applied in particularly highly populated areas, such as Istanbul and Ankara [79
]. In this regard, Turkey’s Mediterranean region located in the southern part of the country enjoys relatively abundant water. To utilize this water potential in the region, The Turkish government has introduced extensive water transfer projects both at the regional level.
Water transfer projects via pipelines from Turkey’s southern regions to the Middle East is the first international water initiatives proposed by the Turkish government. Utilizing water surplus in the southern part of Turkey to abroad has a longer past, which can be traced back to late 1980s. The Turkish government introduced numbers of water transfer projects to use water as a strategic tool in its diplomacy in the Middle East. The first water transfer project proposed by the Turkish government in 1986 was the Peace Pipeline Project. The project prospected transferring a significant amount of water resources from the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers located in Southern Turkey to the Middle East [80
]. According to the plan, approximately 10 million cubic meters of water per day would be transferred from the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers to the Middle East via two pipelines. While the route of the first pipeline (the Western Pipeline) would supply water to major cities including Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Amman, Medina, and Jeddah, the second pipeline (the Gulf Pipeline) would have used the same route with the Trans-Arab Oil Pipeline. It would have provided water to Gulf countries [81
]. The total cost of the Western and the Gulf Pipelines were estimated to be $
8 billion USD and $
12 billion USD, respectively [82
]. The peace pipeline project can be seen as a strategic tool which would enable Turkey to play a more active role in the Middle East.
However, while the domestic initiatives were completed successfully, the international water initiatives to the Middle East were failed. Turkish proposal was rejected by the oil-rich Gulf States. Both economic and political factors played a role in the rejection of the Turkish plan. About financial matters, the recipient countries argued that the total cost of the projects is too much considering the benefits. They also argued installing desalination plants rather than a pipeline is a much cheaper option for the oil-rich Gulf States since they do not have to be worried about the energy costs for these plants. As Gruen [83
] points out the pipeline would create another Upstream vs. Downstream situations in the region thereby those states located in the downstream reaches of the pipeline will be much more vulnerable in the case of possible water disruptions of the upstream water flow. Given that Turkey already enjoys a pivotal position in the Euphrates and Tigris basin, the pipeline would provide further leverage to Turkey. Thus, public campaigns were waged that claimed to curb the plan. Bilen [82
] states that those against the pipeline project claimed that Turkey seeks to revive the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, and it aims to establish hegemony by using water. Finally, Gruen [83
] also showed that some experts also questioned the seriousness of the Turkish proposal in the first place. They argue that the project seeks to deflect the criticisms levelled at Turkey regarding its extensive upstream development in the Euphrates and Tigris basin.
Therefore, the project was never materialized. After the first project was rejected, the Turkish government proposed a more modest pipeline plan. The new plan was basically proposing a shorter pipeline which would end in Jordan by passing through Syria. The annual amount of water being transferred from Turkey to Jordan estimated to be 2.19 billion cubic meters per year. The Turkish experts argue that the project would significantly remedy water shortages of Jordan and Palestine, thereby contributing to the peace and stability in the region [82
]. However, this project was also never materialized due to the similar economic and political concerns stated above. These failed attempts show that in spite of the persistent labelling of these projects as catalyst for peace in the Middle East by the Turkish ruling elites, there are political, economic, and technical limitations of Turkey’s hydraulic mission abroad. To understand why these projects never materialized, it is necessary to draw from theories of power and broader political context. As shown by Hussein and Grandi [13
]. It is necessary to consider power asymmetries within the broader political context in order to understand why certain regional projects are successful and others fail. If a country, for instance Turkey, aims at having these initiatives to be successful, it would need power and the relevant political context combined together. Only in that case such projects can result to be successful. Powerful countries would use water to get more power and non-powerful ones use power to get more water, which may allow them to gain more economic power. Countries also need the power to be able to use such initiatives; hence, it is necessary to consider the broader political context to understand when and how countries can use water to further enhance their power. The empirical cases in this article confirm this.
Even though Turkey’s water plans regarding the Middle East failed in the 1980s and the early 1990s, the Turkish ruling elites continued to consider the water surplus in its Mediterranean region as a foreign policy tool in its relations with Middle Eastern countries. In the second half of the 1990s, Turkey’s relations with Arab countries, primarily with Syria, deteriorated mainly owing to water disputes in the Euphrates and Tigris and Syria’s active support to the separatist movements in Turkey. Particularly, the Syrian government was the primary supporter of the PKK during the 1980s and 1990s [84
]. The worsening relations between Turkey and Syria brought the two states on the verge of war in Ocalan Crisis in 1998 [85
]. In this political environment, Turkey sought to strengthen political ties with Israel and the two countries realized cooperation in the military field [86
]. The Israeli government also showed its interests in purchasing water from the Manavgat River, located in the southern part of Turkey. After a round of talks between 2002 and 2004, the Turkish and Israeli government signed a deal on water purchase from the Manavgat River. According to the agreement, Israel would purchase 50 billion cubic meters of water annually from the Manavgat River. Ugur Ziyal, the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs who signed the deal, stated that the agreement has particular importance in the Turkish-Israeli relations and it may also be a cooperation model for other countries in the region. His Israeli counterpart, Yoav Biran, also emphasized the strategic, political and diplomatic importance of the deal [87
]. Namık Tan, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time stated the Turkish-Israeli deal would contribute to promoting peace and stability in the Middle East [88
]. In the same vein, Mithat Rende, the retired Turkish diplomat who served as the deputy head of Environment and Water division in the ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that “Turkey’s unused waters flowing into the Mediterranean” would de-escalate tense relations on water in the region, and the deal will help creation of comprehensive and durable cooperation in the region [81
] (p. 170).
However, even though an agreement was signed this time, once again political and economic matters did not allow the implementation of the Turkish-Israeli water deal. Concerning economic reasons, the rise of oil prices significantly increased the transportation costs. Moreover, it became also clear that the water cannot be carried via oil tanks since it will decrease the water quality. Building specific tanks for carrying water meant further costs. In the press release published by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is stated that even though the deal was suspended, Turkish government would continue to negotiate with the potential new buyers from the Middle East for possible water transfer projects after the privatization of the water facilities in the Manavgat River [89
]. Furthermore, Turkey’s reliability as a water exporter was also put on a question in the Israeli side. These concerns further increased after the AKP came to power in Turkey, which vehemently criticizes policies of Israel. Thus, the relations between the two countries have notably worsened in the following periods. After the flotilla crisis in 2010, the Turkish government decided to suspend all the ongoing joint projects with Israel. Diplomatic ties were almost broken between the two parties. Therefore, the Turkish government declared that it has no intention re-vitalize a similar water deal with Israel soon [90
This section shows that since Turkey’s involvement in Middle Eastern affairs have gradually increased by the 1980s and onwards, the Turkish ruling elites have considered Turkey’s strategic hydraulic advantage in the region accompanied by growing economic and engineering capacity as a tool to enhance Turkey’s influential capacity in the region. Therefore, a variety of water initiatives have been adopted since the 1980s. However, these initiatives were failed as the recipient countries have rejected Turkey’s proposals due to the political, economic and technical reasons. Concerning political factors, the mutual distrust between the countries in the Middle East created a big obstacle. Therefore, even though these initiatives were promoted as a catalyst for peace by the Turkish elites, it was perceived as an attempt to establish a regional hegemony by using water.
Furthermore, the proposed pipeline was supposed to pass through a number of countries, which creates other upstream-downstream dichotomies among the states as in the case of transboundary watersheds. Finally, as it can be seen in the context of Turkish-Syrian and Turkish-Israeli relations in the different time periods, the bilateral relations rapidly change in the region. In other words, the political relations are also as erratic as the watersheds in the Middle East. Such an unstable political context also created another obstacle for realization of these initiatives. Concerning the economic factors, large sums of money had to be allocated to realize such an extensive water transfer project. Notably, the Gulf States having enormous energy resources found constructing desalinization plants as more feasible and less politically risky. Therefore, they preferred to increase their desalinization capacity to remedy their water shortages. Finally, the project has not been found technically feasible, which can never be realized by the recipient countries. Turkey’s water export initiatives since the 1980s show that in the line Turkey’s changing perception to the Middle East in its foreign policy, the Turkish ruling elites began to consider Turkey’s hydraulic mission as a useful tool to increase its political influence at the regional level. However, as indicated at the beginning, the failed attempts also show limits of Turkey’s hydraulic mission as a foreign policy tool.
3.3. The Peace Water Project: An Attempt to Establish a Pax Aquarrum
As stated above, after the AKP came to power in 2002, it has pursued Ozal’s foreign policy doctrine in the regional affairs. Thus, despite the failures of the previous water initiatives, the Turkish government continued to develop similar water transfer projects. In this vein, the most recent, and perhaps the most ambitious, water transfer project conducted by the Turkish government is the Water Transfer Project from Turkey to Cyprus, also known as the Peace Water Project.
Unlike the previous water initiatives, the recipient state of the Peace Water Project is Cyprus not the countries in the Middle East. As the following empirical evidence suggests, the similar logic of enhancing Turkey’s regional influence constitutes the main political rationale in the Peace Water Project. Moreover, looking at the empirical evidence, it is safe to argue that the Turkish ruling elites considered the Peace Water Project as the first phase of the upcoming water transfer projects that would extend the pipeline beyond Cyprus, primarily to the Middle East. When we examine the bilateral framework agreement between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) concerning the project, it is stated that “the Turkish government—without abandoning its responsibilities derived from this agreement—retains its right to sell water to the third-party country or countries”[91
] (Article 2). In the same vein with Article 2 of the Framework Agreement signed between Turkey and the TRNC, the Turkish officials already revealed that “the Peace Water Project” can be extended to the Middle East. For instance, in his recent visit to Jordan, it was reported that President Erdogan has already offered to his Jordanian counterpart, King Abdullah, to extend “the Peace Water Project” by building a second pipeline from Cyprus to Jordan [92
]. Likewise, Tugrul Turkes, the former deputy prime minister, stated that “Hopefully, we can give this water to the Greek side afterwards. Israel also needs water. We can give it there too” [93
]. These statements show that the Turkish elites do not only consider the Peace Water Project as a unique water transfer project on its own to remedy the chronic water problem of the TRNC, but they also view it as a part of the broader political agenda; in other words, the perspective of using water as a strategic instrument to increase regional influence persists.
To tackle the problem of water scarcity in the TRNC, the Turkish government introduced the Peace Water Project, which would transfer water from Turkey’s south to Cyprus. The project consists of three elements; the construction of the Alakopru dam in the Turkish part and the canal transferring water from the dam to the Mediterranean Sea, the construction of the 80-km long pipelines from Turkey to Cyprus, and construction of the Gecitkoy dam in Northern Cyprus [94
]. The project commenced on 7 March 2011 with the construction of the Alakopru Dam in Southern Turkey. Despite the magnitude of the project, it was completed swiftly by 2015 and inaugurated on 17 October 2015.
In the inauguration ceremony of the project, Mustafa Akinci, the president of the TRNC stated that “Water has become more important than oil as the world experiences global warming. This water will increase the production of Cyprus. Our yellow color [referring to the island’s landscape] will return green. This type of project means building the TRNC which can stand on its own [Emphasize added, author’s translation]” [95
]. In the inauguration, Ahmet Davutoglu, the PM at the time, stressed that the project would strengthen the ties between Turkey and Cyprus. He stated that “We are building a water bridge between Turkey and Cyprus, the like of which has not been done before in the world … Here we declare the world that Turkey and Cyprus have been intertwined together, which cannot be separated anymore. [Author’s translation]” [95
After the completion of the water transfer infrastructures both in Turkey and Cyprus, the DSI has also swiftly completed the canals and water networks in the island which would bring the transferred water to the different corners of the island. The project prospects are moving 75 million cubic meters of water from Turkey to Cyprus per year. Roughly half of the water will be used for domestic use to meet growing water demand in Northern Cyprus, and the other half would be allocated to irrigation [96
]. With these features, the project is a unique water transfer project, the likes of which have not been built before [97
However, it would be misleading to consider the Peace Water Project as purely a hydraulic infrastructure construction. It is a continuation of Turkey’s hydraulic mission beyond its borders. As Hofmann [98
] (p. 281) highlights the both unilateral water initiatives conducted in the Northern and Southern Cyprus with the strong third party involvements cannot be understood without considering the geopolitical context. Since the project is inherently linked with the long-standing Cyprus conflict, it could make the resolution of the conflict even more complicated than it currently is [98
]. Therefore, the Peace Water Project does carry strong geopolitical and symbolic considerations.
According to Huseyin Gokcekus, a Turkish-Cypriot academic and the coordinator of the project states that the project shows Turkey’s power and its progress. For Gokcekus, the project will give Turkey a “leadership role” in future in similar projects in the region, while it will also play a vital role in resolving acute water shortages that Cyprus experiences [99
]. The project is portrayed as the “project of the century”. Furthermore, both scholars and policy-makers emphasized the possible political outcomes of the project. In this regard, Mehmet Hasguler, a Turkish-Cypriot academic and member of TRNC higher education council, argues that the Peace Water Project would provide an upper hand to the Turkish-Cypriots in negotiations for the resolution of the long-standing Cyprus conflict [100
]. Hasguler [101
] also argues that, as in the case of the European Coal and Steel Community experience, the Turkish and Greek sides can realize resource-based cooperation based upon the recently discovered hydrocarbons and water. Thus, an offer was already made to the Greek Cypriots. In the inaugural ceremony, President Erdogan stated that “… I hope entire Cyprus would benefit from this water, which can meet the water demands of the Island, as a result of permanent and just resettlement of the Cyprus issue [Author’s translation]” [102
However, as in the previous water initiatives, this Turkish initiative also created problems, and even resentment, among the recipients of the project. Unsurprisingly, the Greek Cypriots strongly opposed to the project. The day after the project was inaugurated, Yiannakis Omirou, the former president of the Greek-Cypriot Parliament, described the project as “a flagrant violation of international law”. Omirou argued that the project seeks integration of the “occupied territories” to the Turkish heartland. Therefore, the project must be condemned strongly, and the European Union and the United Nations must condemn such actions [103
]. Likewise, Michalis Lytas, the head of Greek Cypriot Farmer’s union, states even though there is an urgent need for water, he does not trust the Turkish motives. By referring to the old saying, he argues, “it may start as a gift … but eventually, they will take your whole house” [104
The opposition to the project did not only come from the other side of the island but also came from within Northern Cyprus. The political parties and non-state entities located in the far-left in the political spectrum, environmental groups, labour unions declared their opposition to the project. For instance, an activist from the Baraka Cultural Centre, the radical left-wing NGO, describes the project as a “provincialisation of Cyprus” rather than integration. He opposes the idea of selling water and the very marketisation and privatization process [105
]. In a similar vein, the left-wing New Cyprus Party (YKP, Turkish acronym) argues that just like the 1974 operation was dressed up as a peace operation, the privatisation and marketisation of water is dressed up as “peace water” via this project. The YKP also emphasizes environmental (the environmental impact of the whole infrastructure built both in Turkey and Cyprus) and societal (displacement of local population in Turkey due to the construction of the Alakopru Dam) adverse impacts of the project [106
]. Thus, these groups of actors organized a rally in Nicosia in the same day the project was inaugurated to show their opposition and resentment for the project. These concerns and opposition from within Northern Cyprus support the claim that the project will likely to render Northern Cyprus even more dependent on Turkey [107
Finally, the issue of governing water resources that are brought to the island created another issue area. After the project was completed, the issue of “who will govern water?” was disputed between the Turkish government and the TRNC. While the provincial municipalities backed by the Republican Turkish Party demanded administration of water that would be transferred via the project, the Turkish government insisted that the municipalities do not have the institutional capacity to administer the project. Therefore, the administration should be conducted by the private sector [108
]. The disagreement led to tension between the Turkish government and the TRNC government [109
]. Regarding the issue, the coalition government in the TRNC was also divided. Whereas the right-wing National Union Party agreed with the Turkish government, the left-wing Republican Turkish Party supported to municipalities. As a result, the political crisis constituted one of the core reasons behind the collapse of the coalition government in Northern Cyprus [110
]. It appears that the issue continues to be a disputed issue area in the political agenda of Cyprus, considering the importance of water for the Island.