Conflicting Stories of Opening New Border Checkpoints

North Cyprus News - Metehan
[Metehan/Kermia Border Checkpoint]
Wednesday, 24 May 2023

The unprecedented depreciation of the Turkish Lira has made the TRNC a magnet for people living in south Cyprus seeking better value purchases in the north, Yeniduzen reports.

For some time now, this has led to congestion at the main border checkpoints and calls to open more crossing points.

Last May, Prime Minister Ünal Üstel visited all the existing checkpoints and said he hoped that more would be opened and facilities at existing crossings should be improved. 

Today, Yeniduzen reports that the Prime Ministry Border Gates Regulation Committee, which was established by the Prime Ministry in June 2022 for the purpose of “improving the crossing points” had announced to the public with a “wide-participation” press conference, that the committee had been dissolved.

The first and only chairman of the committee, UBP Deputy Resimye Canaltay told Yeniduzen that she “resigned in September due to heavy workload” and that a new responsible person had not been appointed.

It was stated that after the committee, which had signed the protocol with the Platform of Economic Organisations on the improvement of crossing points was disbanded, the platform had been working directly with the Prime Ministry, but no useful results had been yielded because of a lack of planning. 

Meanwhile, member of the Economic Organisations Platform and the President of the Cyprus Turkish Hoteliers Association, Dimağ Çağıner told Yeniduzen that he was not aware that the committee had been disbanded and that his talks with the Prime Ministry were continuing.

North Cyprus News - Metehan Border Crossing - South Side
[Metehan Border Crossing]
Çağıner said that an agreement was reached on the Kermia/Metehan crossing point only. “The problem is not with the government, but with the platform“, he said. Noting that no time had been given for improvements to be made, he said the following:

 “A third lane will be opened, the insurance building will be moved, a place for tourist crossings will be reserved and the computer system will change”. 

The newspaper goes on to say that negotiations between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot side regarding the border checkpoints are ongoing, however, sources at the Presidency declined to give any further details, claiming that it could undermine the process.

Foreign Relations Secretary and Deputy CTP Fikri Toros, said that neither the Presidency nor the Prime Ministry had contacted them regarding the opening of both existing and new border checkpoints.

He stated that the CTP wanted six crossing points to be opened initially. Toros emphasised that these sites should be discussed at the negotiation table and opened under the heading of confidence building measures. 

Toros listed where the new crossing points the party wanted to be opened were as follows: Famagusta and Paphos crossing points in Nicosia, Haspolat, Kiracıköy, Akıncılar and Pirgo.


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