The north’s ‘government’ on Wednesday night announced the implementation of price controls for lamb.

Lamb in the north will now be sold for no more than 550TL (€15.89) per kilogram, with butchers attempting to sell their meat for more than the stated price to be issued fines.

The decision was announced by the north’s ‘cabinet’, following a meeting which was also attended by the north’s butchers’ union and its livestock breeders’ union.

The price control comes ahead of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr this year is expected to begin next Tuesday evening.

The news also comes as an increasing number of Turkish Cypriots have resorted to buying their meat in the Republic, where it is habitually cheaper. On an increasing number of occasions, meat is also being smuggled to the north illegally from the Republic.

In March, Turkish Cypriot police found and seized almost two metric tonnes of beef from supermarkets in the Kyrenia district.

Two weeks prior, a man had received a fine for attempting to cross north at the Ayios Dhometios crossing point with 143 kilograms of red meat, while a similar sting at the Pergamos crossing point and the nearby village of Lysi uncovered 140kg of beef smuggled from the Republic.

Turkish Cypriot butchers have found themselves squeezed by their rising costs and shrinking consumer base, and slaughtered two lambs in protest at the situation in January.

They demanded the north’s ‘government’ “find a solution” which would allow meat to be sold at a price range in line with the prices in the Republic.

“We are throwing away meat we cannot sell because it stinks, and as a result animal slaughter has hit rock bottom,” they said. While the crisis is worsening, “the government is acting as if everything is rosy.”

This is not the first time the north’s ‘government’ has attempted to implement price controls, with a decree on the maximum price of bread having been published at the beginning of February.

However, they were met with collective resistance on the part of the bakers, who declared the decree to be in violation of the north’s laws on competition.

“Under the conditions of the bread and bakery competition law, each bakery has calculated its own costs and offered our products to people at affordable prices so far,” they said

“In this regard, we have determined each bakery’s own costs separately, taking into account the recent excessive price increases, under free market conditions,” they added.

Opposition party CTP ‘MP’ Devrim Barcin had said at the time it was “utterly delusional to expect compliance.”

Bakers demanded a meeting with ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel, and the potential conflict was averted the following day when an agreement between them and the ‘economy ministry’ was reached.