The north’s ‘government’ is “like a bad joke”, opposition party CTP leader Tufan Erhurman said on Monday.

Erhurman was reacting to the establishment of a traffic and transport services commission by the north’s ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel, which he said was an institution “stipulated by law for years”.

“You did not convene it for years despite it being stipulated by law, and then you announce the ‘good news’ that you’ll establish a commission,” he retorted in a social media post.

The commission has been convened now in reaction to an increasing number of serious road accidents taking place in the north, a growing number of which are fatal.

Ustel said on Monday, “we lost dozens of lives in the earthquake [in February 2023]. We are still at sea from this, and we carry the pain in our hearts. While this example was stark, we have begun to lose as many lives in traffic accidents every year as we lost in the earthquake.”

For this reason, plans are afoot to roll out harsher punishments for causing death by dangerous driving. The north’s cabinet has approved a motion to increase the fine from 50 times the monthly minimum wage to 75 times the monthly minimum wage, and the prison sentence from seven years to ten.

The north’s minimum wage is currently 24,000TL (€691) per month, meaning that the fine will increase from 1.2 million TL (€34,530) to 1.8 million TL (€51,795).

Heavier penalties are also set to be levied on those who drive while under the influence of alcohol, and those who refuse to give breath samples or blood samples upon request.

Earlier, Erhurman had also criticised the ‘government’s’ implementation of price controls for lamb meat, after butchers elected to sidestep the decree by introducing a “service fee” on top of the price of their products.

He referenced a previous failed attempt to implement price controls for bread, telling the ‘government’, “the third time you implement price controls, it will definitely work!”