The north is bolstering its efforts to reduce queues at the checkpoints as it renewed its calls for more crossings to open, according to reports from the Turkish Cypriot press.

It said that 3.5 million people crossed from the Republic to the north during the period between January and July, meanwhile close to one million crossings took place from the north.

Resmiye Canaltay, head of the committee handling the checkpoints, said that part of the north’s efforts to make crossings easier will see a further 27 staff being hired, while the computers and infrastructure at Ledra Street has also been improved – with more works in the pipeline.

Elsewhere, Canaltay said that they are awaiting clearance from the British bases to improve the bridge at the Pergamos crossing.

She said, however, that efforts to make crossings easier must be reciprocal and the issues cannot be fully resolved just by the north but also requires efforts to be made by the Republic.

As for the opening of new checkpoints – Canaltay said that there have been no further developments on the matter. It has previously been reported that one proposed location for a new checkpoint could be near Famagusta gate in Nicosia.

She highlighted Ledra Street and Ayios Dhometios as the main crossings.

In May, the Turkish Cypriot ‘prime minister’ said he wanted more checkpoints opened, improvements to reduce long queues at the current ones but also for those crossing to get a real feeling that they are entering the ‘TRNC state’.

Nine crossing points operate across the island, with two, Strovilia and Pergamos, being under the jurisdiction of the British military bases.

The north has previously said that the busiest checkpoint is that in Ayios Dhometios, where 13,000 people cross daily – a rate of traffic similar to that at Tymbou (Ercan) airport.