News Local Near threefold increase in number of visits to Turkish-held north

Near threefold increase in number of visits to Turkish-held north

Visits of Greek Cypriots across the Green Line to the Turkish-held north jumped to 1,776,343 in the first nine months of 2019  from 658,741 in the same period the previous year according to figures submitted to the House of Representatives by the Justice Ministry and published by Phileleftheros on Tuesday.

The number of vehicles making the same journey in the same period tripled to 928,221 from 309,374 the previous year.

The number of visits of Turkish Cypriots coming in the opposite direction also rose, but at a lower rate to total 970,510 in the first nine months of 2019 compared to 791,103 in the corresponding period the previous year. The number of Turkish Cypriot vehicles was up to 378,835 from 308,420.

The above figures do not include people and vehicles using Pergamos and Strovilia checkpoints which are controlled by the British Bases, the newspaper said.

The Justice Ministry is upgrading equipment and software at the checkpoints so as to make checks faster and more effective in two phases.

The project, which will be completed towards the end of 2020, will enhance the system which automatically checks whether drivers/owners of vehicles are wanted by police or have outstanding warrants, or if their vehicles were involved in any crimes.

The system will also be linked with the data base of other government departments while the mobile and fixed ANPR (automatic number plate recognition)  systems which so far have operated autonomously will operate as a single system with a shared data base.

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