The Press and Information Office reported that, according to an April 29 article from the Halkin Seshi newspaper, a grand total of 141 million individuals have traversed the barricades towards the occupied or free areas since the opening on April 23, 2003.
According to the newspaper, in the early years, the number of crossings ranged between 4-6 million annually. However, just before the pandemic, in 2019, this number had increased to 1 million. As a result of the pandemic restrictions, the number of transits fell to 3-4 million in 2020-2021 but surged back up to 13 million last year.
The report also states that in the past, the number of Turkish Cypriots crossing the barricades was higher compared to Greek Cypriots and citizens of other countries. However, in recent years, there has been a shift in this trend, with Greek Cypriot transits accounting for 43% of total transits.
According to data spanning 15 years, "citizens of the TRNC" made up 53% of total crossings in 2008, while citizens of other countries and citizens of the Republic of Cyprus accounted for 29% and 19% of crossings, respectively. However, as of 2022, the percentage of "citizens of the TRNC" transiting has decreased to 29% of total transits, while the proportion of citizens of the Republic of Cyprus has increased to 43% of total transits. The newspaper mentions that most Greek Cypriots visit the occupied territories for shopping.
During the pandemic, the percentage of Turkish Cypriot crossings in total crossings to the free areas saw a significant increase, as Turkish Cypriots were permitted to cross into the Republic of Cyprus-controlled area to work, despite restrictions.
The newspaper further notes that there is a growing interest among Iranians to visit the occupied territories. As per the report, Turkey had the highest number of visitors to the occupied territories with 267,474 people in the first three months of 2023, followed by Iran with 11,102, Russia with 9,434, and Germany with 5,863.
[This article was translated from its Greek original published on the CNA]