Workers lay a pipeline along the side of a road in the northern Turkish Cypriot part of Cyprus’ between Panagra village and divided capital Nicosia, Feb. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
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"Because of the drought this year, there's no water in our wells and the crops are drying," says the 49 year-old Turkish Cypriot wearing military-style fatigues – popular attire for farmers on both sides of Cyprus, split between ethnic Greek and Turkish camps.He and his two brothers, who have worked since childhood on the 800-hectare farm, have just one source of hope: a new water pipeline that will soon link Turkey with Cyprus' Turkish side and potentially eliminate chronic water shortages for generations.A Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence nine years later was recognized only by Turkey, which maintains 35,000 troops in the North.The pipeline project, estimated to cost more than 1.5 billion Turkish Lira ($680 million), will feed water from the massive Alakopru dam on the Turkish mainland to a smaller dam in the village of Panagra – or Gecitkoy in Turkish – in North Cyprus, near the coast.Some 75 million cubic meters of water is estimated to flow to the North annually, enough to meet the needs of Turkish Cypriots for the next half century.Last year, the Turkish forestry and water affairs minister, Veysel Eroglu, reportedly likened the pipeline to an "umbilical cord" linking Turkey to Cyprus.Even some Turkish Cypriots cast suspicion on Turkish motives.
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