Image by Dickelbers, via Wikimedia Commons.  Accessed 0n 29.09.17

 

The Turkish Northern Republic of Cyprus’s (TRNC) energy sector is one of the least developed sectors in the country. Given the political and economic restrictions TRNC has suffered since 1974 - after the official partition of the island of Cyprus into two entities, with the Greek south internationally recognised, and the de facto north recognised only by Turkey - its economic policies and relations have been reduced to its trade with Turkey.

This has severely limited foreign investment in, and the development of, the TRNC; and, it has helped produce an environment conducive to the emergence of politically exposed, oligarch-controlled markets.

In the TRNC, the state has historically played a significant role in the domestic economy, to the point that the nation is often characterised by the interference of political actors in the distribution of state assets. This presents a complex politico-economic scenario, particularly in the energy sector, where political discourse and economic interests are often (inevitably) intertwined.

Impact

  • The failure of the peace talks between the Greek and Turkish sides in Cyprus could potentially push pro-Ankara forces in the TRNC to gain further political and economic influence.
  • The current political context is empowering pro-Ankara political factions in the TRNC, a political trend that plays into the hands of Turkish interests in Northern Cyprus, but more importantly, of those businessmen associated to Turkey’s President.
  • The TRNC is in need of modernising its energy infrastructure, along with conducting more general structural reforms. For the moment, however, modernisation and reforms are ostensibly being ignored by the local political elite, as well as Turkish investors.