The Turkish Cypriot authorities are on alert when an oil slick was on Wednesday just 28 km from its coast. Formed following an oil spill last week at the Banias power station in Syria, the slick has yet to cause damage, according to an official with the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) .
“Separate accumulations of oil have been seen (drifting) eastward and have been collected,” assured the head of the TRNC crisis commission, Hüseyin Amcaoglu. According to him, the island could be spared with the change in the direction of the wind which pushes the slick towards Syria.
Risk of an oil spill
But for the Minister of Development and Transport of the TRNC, Resmiye Canaltay, the risk of an oil spill and damage to the marine ecosystem remains. “The tablecloth has changed shape, it is now more solid. Some of it landed on the seabed, risking serious damage, ”she warned Tuesday on the Turkish-Cypriot-Turkish public channel BRT.
To contain the slick, the Turkish Cypriot authorities have asked for help from Turkey, the only country to recognize the TRNC. Two Turkish ships capable of collecting oil are expected to reach the TRNC on Friday.
The two Cypriot republics lend to collaborate
For many experts, joint action is needed with the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union and exercising its authority in the south of the island. “This is not a problem that only concerns Northern Cyprus. We must act together with the South, ”Cemaliye Ozveren Ekinci, president of the Chamber of Environmental Engineers of the TRNC, told Cypriot-Turkish agency TAK on Tuesday.
For its part, the Republic of Cyprus said on Tuesday that it had “located” no trace of this water table, neither on its coasts nor in the waters under its control, affirming nevertheless to be ready to help the TRNC to fight against any maritime pollution. “We have not received any information or response from the authorities of the illegal regime (the TRNC, editor’s note), so we remain on alert,” Cypriot Minister of the Environment, Costas Kadis, told the news agency. press Cyprus News.
The island has been divided since 1974 following the invasion of Turkey in reaction to a coup by supporters of a union of Cyprus with Greece. Under Turkey’s financial infusion, the TRNC controls the northern third of the island.