Make Home page
Cyprus Problem - Enclaved
The Third Vienna Agreement
Resolution 1333 (2003)
Destruction of our Cultural Heritage
Pictures from yester days
The pepper dance
Other Occupied Areas
pressure north over Karpas power plan
By Simon Bahceli
TWO Green MEPs yesterday called for urgent measures to be
taken to prevent a continued “chaotic building spree” in the north of the
island, and warned against the Turkish Cypriot authority’s plan to add the
eastern tip of the Karpas peninsula to the electricity grid – something the
two said was intended to “pave the way for huge foreign investments aimed at
developing a mass tourist resort”.
The warning was delivered by co-President of the Greens/EFA group in the
European Parliament Monica Frassoni, and Foreign Affairs Committee member
Cem Ozdemir in a report delivered to EU Commssioner for Enlargement Olli
Rehn and Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. It followed a two-day
fact-finding visit to the island earlier this month.
Environmentalists in the north had told Frassoni and Ozdemir they were
“greatly concerned” about the authority’s plans to take electricity supplies
to the area beyond Rizokarpaso, the easternmost village on the island, to
the tip of Cape Andreas. They also told the two they were demanding to know
why there were plans for the provision of an 11,000 volt supply – an amount
of electricity, they say, that could satisfy the needs of around 15,000
people – when there currently existed no more than a handful of small-scale
camp sites and restaurants, and almost no residencies in the area.
The warning was welcomed by the Friends of the Karpas pressure group’s
project co-ordinator Osman Kalfaoglu, who told the Cyprus Mail yesterday he
was “glad the issue has been brought to the attention of the commissioners”.
“What remains to be seen, though, is what Rehn and Dimas are willing or able
to do,” Kalfaoglu said. He questioned whether the EU could do anything to
help, considering the fact that northern Cyprus remains outside EU law.
“They could simply tell us their hands are tied,” he said, adding a call on
Greek Cypriot MEPs not to block any potential initiatives.
“If the EU can find any way, financially or otherwise, to help preserve this
beautiful and ecologically-diverse area, it would not be wise for them to
block it. If they do, the area could be lost forever,” Kalfaoglu warned.
Speaking of alternative ways of bringing limited power to existing
small-scale enterprises in the area, he said, “We have a project for
installing solar energy systems. If we could get funding for this, the
government would not be able to insist on implementing its plan.” Kalfaoglu
added: “If it then continued to insist, it would be clear that they are
planning some kind of mass tourism development.”
The north’s authority appears to be insistent that its plans will go ahead.
Making matter more complicated, the plans have proved popular with local
residents. A recent meeting between a conglomeration of environmental groups
and villagers ended in heated argument, with locals accusing the
environmentalists of seeking to inhibit development in the area. The
Rizokarpaso ‘mayor’ Mehmet Demirci recently told the Cyprus Mail that
youngsters were leaving the village “in their droves” because of a lack of
employment possibilities in the area.
“Thousands of people come to the Karpas, but no one stays overnight because
we don’t have hotels that can house them comfortably,” he said, adding that
if electricity supplies were provided, existing hotels would be able to
power heating and air conditioning systems that would help them meet the
expectations of tourists, and thereby create employment.
The two MEPs appeared to address this issue in a press statement on
Thursday, when they said they were “making it clear that they are not
against the development of tourism in the Turkish Cypriot part”, but that
they were “keen to highlight that lessons should be learnt from the mistakes
made in the southern part and in many other Mediterranean islands and
Cyprus Mail 14/7/2007