Several Turkish Cypriot groups are stepping up pressure toward the leadership in the north to reopen checkpoints as soon as possible, given that the coronavirus pandemic appears to be fully recovering on both sides of the divide.
According to Kathimerini Cyprus, both the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mustafa Akinci, as well as Prime Minister of the breakaway state Ersin Tatar, have come increasingly faced with pressure, mainly by four groups, to lift restrictions on checkpoints.
Among the groups eager to see the restoration of the ability to move across crossing points are Turkish Cypriot shopowners, who were disproportionately affected by the abrupt interruption of the flow of consumers coming through from the south of the island.
Additionally, a group of Turkish Cypriots living in the north but working in the south, who have become increasingly vocal in recent days over their inability to get to work, staged a demonstration on Wednesday outside the Prime Ministry in the north.
Residents of Pyla, the island’s only ‘mixed’ (inhabited by members of both communities) village that is located within the UN-controlled Buffer Zone, also mobilized on Wednesday at the Pergamos checkpoint as those stranded on either side of the divide that runs through their village remain unable to meet certain needs.
A fourth group stepping up pressure are Turkish Cypriot activists in favour of a solution to the Cyprus problem, highlighting the repercussions of a protracted closure of checkpoints on the relations between the two communities.
But the Turkish Cypriot leadership is making efforts to get across the message that reopening checkpoints at this time is a difficult feat, which requires coordination between the two sides.
Kathimerini Cyprus reported that authorities in the north aren’t looking to lifting restrictions on checkpoints until early June, all the while looking for solutions to problems faced by Turkish Cypriot groups as a result of the checkpoint closures.
Thursday saw Kudret Ozersay, in charge of foreign matters in the north and second in command within the Turkish Cypriot administration, bring to the centre of the attention of the Cabinet in the north of a proposal that would allow Turkish Cypriot residents stranded in the southern part of Pyla to cross to the north under conditions.