Cyprus Mail

Third lane at Ayios Dhometios checkpoint to open by week’s end

A third lane is expected to be completed by the end of week on the Turkish Cypriot side of the Ayios Dhometios checkpoint following pressure on the authorities in the north to ease the crossings for Greek Cypriots.

Turkish-Cypriot media reported on Tuesday that ‘transport minister’ Tolga Atakan announced on Twitter that the third lane would be finished by the end of this week to help ease congestion at the checkpoint plagued by long waits.

Greek Cypriots have been crossing in their droves, especially at weekends, since the fall in the Turkish lira by around 70 per cent since the start of the year, packing into supermarkets and spending on petrol, cigarettes and medicines.

Because Turkish Cypriots have seen their standard of living fall dramatically, they say they need the custom but the constant flow to the north at the crossing has seen waiting times increase to at least 30 minutes per vehicle, and last week the Turkish Cypriot side said they would draw up a list of measures to resolve traffic congestion issues on their side of the checkpoint. Atakan visited the crossing last week and said a third lane could be opened to ease the congestion in the short term.

Turkish Cypriots, mainly farmers, have also gone out to protest on several occasions recently to force the ‘government’ to do something to ease the crisis.

However, on Tuesday, media in the north reported that the livestock breeders had reached an agreement with the ‘government’ over the price of animal feed, raw milk and subsidies, bringing to an end six days of protests. The agreement was announced following a four-hour meeting between ‘prime minister’ Tufan Erhurman, ‘finance minister’ Serdar Denktas, and the ‘minister of agriculture and natural resources’ Erkut Sahali.

According to the agreement, the price of raw milk has been lowered and permission will be granted to import mixed animal feed.

A 1TL per litre subsidy will also be paid to milk producers in line with the agreement reached.

Speaking to reporters, Sahali said that the aim of the talks was to minimise the impact of the crisis on the public as much as possible.

Head of the livestock breeders and producers union Mustafa Naimoglullari, expressed the hope that the ‘government’ would be more sensitive towards the livestock sector in the period ahead.

Naimoglullari said that they were pleased to have reached an agreement on the issue of importing animal feed as it was the price hikes on feed as a result of the fall of the Turkish lira against foreign currencies that had affected them the most.

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