NICOSIA – Officials on the occupied Turkish-Cypriot side of the island said more staff will be hired in a bid to cut down long lines of people wanting to cross over checkpoints – to and from – the Greek-Cypriot side.
Those are along the Green Line and other border spots where visitors are allowed to come and go by showing a passport, but sees long queues at times, causing frustration and making the crossover tedious.
The Turkish-Cypriots occupying the northern third since two unlawful 1974 Turkish invasions said there should be more crossings along lines patrolled by United Nations peacekeeping forces, Turkish-Cypriot media said.
That said some 3.5 million crossed into the occupied territory from January to July and that one million on the Turkish-Cypriot side went to the Greek-Cypriot side to shop or visit.
Resmiye Canaltay, head of the committee handling the checkpoints, said that another 27 staff would be hired and that computer services and infrastructure at the main cross on Ledra Street in the capital Nicosia would be improved.
Canaltay said clearance is being awaited from British military bases – the former Colonial ruler still having a presence – to improve a bridge at the Pergamos crossing to speed passage, reported The Cyprus Mail.
She said, however, that efforts to make crossings easier must be reciprocal and that the Greek-Cypriot side has to join the effort but there’s no word on the proposed opening of another checkpoint near Famagusta Gate in Nicosia.
Nine crossing points operate across the island, with two, Strovilia and Pergamos, being under the jurisdiction of the British military bases.
The Turkish-Cypriot side previously said that the busiest checkpoint is in Ayios Dhometios, where 13,000 people cross daily – a rate of traffic similar to that at Tymbou (Ercan) airport.