In a striking development, 2023 has seen an extraordinary increase in crossings through checkpoints in Cyprus, as revealed by reports in the Turkish Cypriot press.
This surge, which has attracted the attention of both Greek Cypriots and foreigners, has had far-reaching economic implications, a fact underscored by Diyalog, a prominent Turkish Cypriot daily.
Statistics from the first half of 2023 illustrate the scale of this phenomenon. A total of 779,000 individuals, including "citizens" of the 'trnc,' entered the occupied territories by air and sea during this period.
Remarkably, an astounding 2,428,000 people opted for the checkpoint route, conspicuously excluding "citizens" of the so-called 'trnc.'
Comparing these figures to the same period in 2022, where there were 2,315,000 crossings through checkpoints, the growth becomes even more apparent. Of significant note is the surge in crossings by citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, reaching 766,913, while foreigners contributed 583,242 to this influx.
The impact of this increase isn't confined to border statistics alone. Shopkeepers in the Arasta area of occupied Nicosia have experienced a revival in their businesses, thanks to the heightened crossings to the occupied territories.
They stress the pivotal role of authorities in further opening checkpoints to effectively manage this influx.
Furthermore, data cited by Yeni Bakis presents a compelling narrative. Crossings through checkpoints surged by a substantial 21.54% during the first eight months of 2023 when compared to the previous year.
By the end of this period, the tally of foreigners, including Greek Cypriots, who entered the occupied territories through checkpoints, reached a staggering 3,492,726.
The increase in Greek Cypriot crossings can be attributed to the depreciation of the Turkish lira against the euro. A record-breaking 2,043,555 Greek Cypriots opted for the checkpoint route during the first eight months of 2023, marking the highest numbers since 2003.
Additionally, data from the "Ministry of Tourism" underscores that 1,620,180 Turkish Cypriots crossed into Republic of Cyprus-controlled areas during the same period, further highlighting the dynamic nature of this surge.
Of particular significance is the 24.40% increase in the number of citizens from other countries utilizing the checkpoints. According to "Ministry of Tourism" data, citizens of the United Kingdom and Greece led the pack in terms of crossings, with Romanian citizens securing the third spot, surpassing Bulgarians this year, as reported by the newspaper.
[With information sourced from Philenews]