Ports in the north are set to be privatised, according to ‘transport minister’ Erhan Arikli, reports on Thursday said.

Speaking to local television on Wednesday evening, he said the work to privatise ports was being accelerated by the ‘government’ and that this is the reason they have stopped spending money on their upkeep.

“No investment has been made [in the ports] because the Kyrenia and Famagusta ports will be privatised. We did not allocate them a budget. These two ports have come to the point of collapse due to a lack of maintenance and investment,” he said.

He added that the ports in Famagusta and Kyrenia need urgent repairs, which are estimated to cost between $5 million (€4.7 million) and $8 million (€7.5 million).

In addition, he said the ‘government’ plans to open other ports as Kyrenia and Famagusta ports are no longer able to expand.

“The ports in Famagusta and Kyrenia are in urban area and there is no possibility of expansion. We are considering Galateia as an alternative to the Famagusta port. Famagusta port will become exclusively a tourism port. The shipyard and cargo port will be moved to Galateia,” he said.

He added: “We think of Kyrenia port as purely a port for tourism. There will be no lorry transportation there. We will transfer lorry transportation to Karavostasi and Galateia, while we will also build a dock for cruise ships in Kyrenia.

“A port in Karavostasi will boost the TRNC economy. If we can use the land where the CMC mines were, there is a 2,000-acre plot of land there adjacent to the port. It will create tremendous wealth. We will build hotels and shopping malls and all kinds of other things in that place,” he said.