The Regulation that was adopted by the Council of the European Union regarding the “demarcation line” regulates, inter alia, the movement of persons and goods, and consequently, public-use vehicles and their owners.
For the faster and more effective implementation of the Regulation, and although it is not being proposed by the Regulation, it is deemed necessary that the movement of Turkish Cypriot-owned public-use vehicles be freed.
On the basis of the existing legislative accords in Cyprus and those of the European Union, no mechanically-driven vehicle is used for any other road use unless it is equipped with a road service license or a license for access to the profession of the road haulage and passenger transport operator respectively, and according to each case. In addition, none of the mechanically-driven vehicles can be driven by a person who is not a holder of a professional driving licence, as it is foreseen by the prevailing Cypriot Legislation.
Consequently, Turkish Cypriot owners of public-use vehicles do not have the right to use their vehicles for the transport of goods or passengers to or from the free areas if they do not hold the aforementioned licences. Moreover, these vehicles cannot be driven by persons who are not holders of a professional driving licence.
The Government, in the framework of its declared and applied policy of rendering the Regulation on the demarcation line more effective so as to facilitate the movement of Turkish Cypriots with mechanically-driven vehicles and the transport of goods and passengers to the government-controlled areas, has decided the amendment of the relevant legislation. This amendment allows for the granting, free of charge, of a temporary driving licence to Turkish Cypriots, as well as a temporary road service licence (circulation licence) to vehicles, which will be valid for one year. The relevant circulation licence for trucks will be granted after the trucks are pronounced appropriate by the competent authorities of the Republic.
The Government’s decision to grant appropriate temporary licences applies to: · Trucks to transport goods for own account, · Trucks to transport goods for hire or payment, · Tourist buses and couches that carry out extraordinary routes, and · Taxis owned by Cypriots who reside legally in the non-government-controlled areas of the Republic, provided that they fulfil the conditions set by the Minister of Communications and Works, according to the prevailing legislation. Moreover, all the relevant laws, documents and material to be examined for acquiring the necessary certificates, have begun to be translated into Turkish.
With regard to the conditions that are set by the competent Minister on the basis of the Decision of the Council of Ministers, the following is mentioned in order to inform all interested parties:
(a) Movement of trucks
The transport of Turkish Cypriot goods from the –Turkish occupied areas to the Government controlled areas will be carried out with:
(i) Trucks which belong to commercial or other businesses and the goods belong or belonged to the said business and are transported by it in the framework of its activities. In the case of small trucks with up to 10,000kilos GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight), a temporary road service license (circulation license), (it will be valid for one year) and a roadworthiness certificate (it will be valid for one year) must be secured.
Also, if the trucks have 7,500 kilos or more GVW, they have to be driven by a driver who has a professional driver’s license and the goods have to be accompanied by a letter/certificate issued by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce stating that the specific truck is used to transport goods for own account.
(ii) In the case of large trucks of more than 10,000 (GVW), a temporary road service license (circulation license), (it will be valid for one year) will be issued, after an application is submitted to the Licensing Authority, which will be accompanied by a letter/certificate issued by the by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce stating that the specific truck will be used to transport goods for own account.
In addition a temporary road service license (circulation license) (it will be valid for a year), and a roadworthiness certificate (valid for a year) will be secured and the vehicle will be driven by a driver who has a professional driver’s license.
(iii) Trucks to transport goods for hire or payment.
Until 31.12.2004, for trucks of more than 10000 GVW, the preconditions will be in force and implemented. From 1.1.2005, the harmonization directives on the “Access to the Profession of the Road Haulage and Passenger Transport Operator Laws 2001-2003” will be implemented.
In all three cases, licenses will be secured which will only allow the licensees to transport their goods from and to the occupied areas of the Republic.
b. Movement of Trucks of Extraordinary Lines (Tourist Buses)
What is mentioned in a (ii) above applies, regarding the movement of trucks for the transport of goods for hire or payment (on behalf of third persons).
It is noted that the licenses which will be granted will only allow the licensees to transport groups of passengers on excursions of a specific destination or tours, conferences, seminars, etc, from the occupied areas to the free areas of the Republic and bring back the same group of passengers to the occupied areas.
c. Movement of Taxis
The provisions of the amending Regulation of Road Traffic Law of 2003, (N.88(I)/2003) will apply and a temporary license for a city or a rural taxi will be granted, which will only allow the transport of passengers, on a hire basis, from the occupied areas to the free areas and their return.
From April 2003, when the free transport of Turkish Cypriots to the free areas began, until 30/06/2004, 65464, 12491 and 32074 Turkish Cypriots were transported from the checkpoints of Ledra Palas, Pergamos and Stovilia, respectively. (total 110029). A number of 839 ordinary driving licenses were issued or renewed as well as 72476 temporary licenses of road use (circulation) and an equal number of temporary driving licenses.
During the same period, 232283 Turkish Cypriot vehicles entered the free areas of the Republic.
It is noted that the measure for the transport of goods by Turkish Cypriot vehicles has not yet been implemented.