Crossing Borders: Two Decades of Change in Cyprus

North Cyprus News - Metehan
[Metehan/Kermia Border Checkpoint]
It’s been 21 years since the first border crossing points between north and south Cyprus opened on April 23, 2003,, Yeniduzen reports. 

Since then, around 155 million crossings have taken place. Initially, there were 4-6 million crossings annually, but by 2019, this had increased to 13 million. However, due to the pandemic in 2020-2021, crossings dropped to 3-4 million. In 2022, they surged back to 13 million, and in 2023, approximately 15 million crossings were recorded. As of the first month of 2024, nearly 2 million crossings have already occurred.

The first three crossing points opened on April 23, 2003, including Ledra Palace in Nicosia, Beyarmudu (Pergamos) and the Two and a Half Miles in Famagusta.

Twenty years ago, these initial openings marked a significant milestone for the island. Over the years, there has been a noticeable increase in crossings by Greek Cypriots.

Looking at the data from the last 16 years, Turkish Cypriot crossings decreased from 53% in 2008 to 29% in 2022, while crossings by citizens of the Republic of Cyprus increased from 19% to 43% during the same period.

The depreciation of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies is believed to contribute to more frequent visits by Greek Cypriots to the north for shopping.

During the pandemic, there was a notable increase in crossings by Turkish Cypriots when restrictions were in place, likely due to permission granted for them to work in the south.

In terms of the history of crossing points, it’s been 20 years since the decision was made to open three crossing points, which caused a stir globally.


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