Officials in the north on Friday accused the Greek Cypriot side of using fuel checks to try to damage the economy by hiding behind excuses and preventing the implementation of the Green Line Regulation.
The Turkish Cypriot regime said the government’s decision earlier in the week to check vehicles at crossing points for fuel bought in the north will harm relations between the two sides.
In a written statement, Baris Burcu, spokesman for the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, said the new checks include hundreds of excuses to prevent the Green Line Regulation from being effectively implemented and are a direct warning to Greek Cypriots who shop in the north.
Due to the constant fluctuations in the value of the Turkish lira against other currencies, he said, fuel prices in the north are sometimes cheaper or more expensive than prices in the south.
“We have never introduced such measures when prices in the south were cheaper. The Greek Cypriot side’s unacceptable and despotic stance in response to this temporary situation does not serve to develop the much-needed good relations and trust between the two communities,” he said.
Burcu said that improving relations between the two communities is the responsibility of both sides. He added that the Turkish Cypriot side is trying to do so but that they do not see the same positive response from the other side.
The Greek Cypriot side, he said, puts obstacles in the way of the application of many decisions regarding confidence building measures and remains insensitive towards efforts aimed at increasing cooperation and establishing an environment of trust.
‘Foreign Affairs Minister’, Kudret Ozersay said in a Facebook post said that such moves oppose efforts aimed at building trust and confidence between the two sides.
“The latest fashion on the Greek Cypriot side is to act in a way that damages the Turkish Cypriot economy or obstructs any benefit to our economy,” he said.
The Greek Cypriot side has resorted to the excuse that goods or services sold in the ‘TRNC’ do not meet required standards, he added.
Ozersay wondered if the standard of the fuel is upgraded when Turkish Cypriots fill up their cars in the north and crossover to the south.
He also recalled ‘other excuses’ given by the Greek Cypriot side on inferior standards, referring to reactions in the south in the past concerning tiles used in a school building in the south purchased from the north, and the transfer of tourists from the south to the north in Turkish Cypriot buses.
Ozersay also referred to the refusal by Greek Cypriot authorities’ to allow some third-country nationals to enter the country when they said they intended to visit the north.
He said that behind those excuses was an intention to harm the Turkish Cypriot economy or to prevent the Turkish Cypriots from benefitting economically.
Most Turkish Cypriot newspapers on Friday ran on their front-pages instructions given by the customs department on the intensification of checks at crossing points on Greek Cypriot vehicles to find out if they have bought fuel in the north.
The inspections will include taking samples from vehicles’ fuel tanks, customs said, as the sulphur content of diesel sold in the north does not meet the standards applied by the Republic. They said the sulphur content is higher and thus in violation of the fuel standards law. The measure was introduced to target illicit trade, customs said.