Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has called on the ‘government’ in the north to accelerate efforts for the opening of the Dherynia and Apliki/Lefka crossings.
In a written statement, Akinci’s spokesman Barus Burcu said Akinci wants steps to be taken immediately “so that the Turkish Cypriot side will not be blamed if any further delays are experienced”.
He also said it was Akinci who asked for the opening of the two crossings during his dinner with President Nicos Anastasiades on April 16.
The two leaders had originally agreed to the opening of the two points in May 2015. Works moved slowly however and after relations between the leaders became strained at the beginning of 2017, talk of opening the crossings came to a halt. The situation deteriorated after the collapse of the talks in Crans-Montana last July.
“During their dinner Anastasiades said that the Dherynia crossing could open on July 1 and the Apliki crossing point on September 15,” said Burcu in his written statement.
He said Akinci had shared this information with the ‘government’ and was “calling for immediate steps to be taken”. Burcu said Akinci had gone as far as personally calling ‘finance minister’ Serdar Denktash and asked him to get the ball rolling on tenders for remaining work and to make sure the process was completed quickly.
Last week socialist Edek said more crossings should not be opened as it was damaging the Greek Cypriot economy. Dherynia in particular, with its proximity to Famagusta, would create problems for farmers and for tourism as the north would be more easily accessible. Sek union also complained that an underground economy was being created due to the crossing points and Green Line Regulation governing trade between the two sides.