Cyprus condemns Turkey's water pipeline link with divided island's breakaway north

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Cyprus has decried an undersea pipeline carrying fresh water from Turkey to the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north, saying it aims to further cement Ankara's grip on the ethnically-divided island.

The Cypriot Foreign Ministry said Thursday that completion of the 66.5-mile (107-kilometer) pipeline violates international law, "aims to integrate" the north and to "augment Turkey's influence and control over Cyprus."

Drought-prone Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Turkey still maintains 35,000 troops in the north.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to inaugurate the project Saturday. Turkish officials said the pipeline will supply around 2.6 billion cubic feet (75 million cubic meters) of water annually, enough to meet the north's irrigation and drinking water needs for a half century.