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Northern Cyprus Car Hires

Aug 21, 2008
An agreement has been reached with the Greek Cypriot government to allow Turkish Cypriot rental cars across the boarde, marking a small but significant step in the improvement of relationships between the districts' respective governments.

The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce said the South Nicosia Government had said there would no longer be any obstacles or problems stopping rental cars from the North crossing the border.

Rental cars had been allowed to cross into the South- on paper - since the borders were first opened in 2003, but customs officials did not allow cars with z-registered plates through, meaning that a vital percentage of automobile transport from Northern Cyprus was simply not allowed into the south.

But the Chamber of Commerce has announced that this will change; they said that the deal would make it easier for tourists from North Cyprus to travel to South Cyprus.

"This is not a new decision but it is solving the practical problems at the checkpoints," The rule has always been rental cars could cross the border, but it was the customs officials who weren't applying it.

Another sticking point has been the reluctance of car rental firms in North Cyprus to allow vehicles out of the country.

If a rental car was to cross the border the driver had to get special insurance and permission form the hire company.

Even then permission to cross the border could be - and generally was - refused.

The new deal scraps any need for border guards to check documentation.

This has sparked concerns among car rental companies in North Cyprus amid fears it could lead to an increase in thefts. Only third party insurance is available to rental cars crossing the border and owners fear they could lose out significantly; it is perhaps one sign that - as legislation is passed through by the respective Cypriot governments - ordinary citizens might feel differently.

Indeed it seems that lip service unity is what many Cypriots actually believe to be the case in such moves; governments making small concessions without attacking the central ideological, cultural, and historical issues.
The president of the Turkish Cypriot Car Rental Association had this to say:

"We are not happy. The industry is very nervous. While 99.9 per cent of customers are ethical, some aren't. What is to stop people driving the car to Paphos and catching a flight out of the country?"

If someone wanted to cross the border - you could arrange special insurance for them. Now customers won't have to inform the car rental company if they cross the border, meaning that tighter border regulations might have to be put in place elsewhere, if emigration becomes an issue.

On top of that, a key fear is emerging as apparent; that the poor relations between police in the TRNC and the South Cyprus could mean stolen vehicles are not returned. Another worry is the potential cost of servicing vehicles in South Cyprus should there be a breakdown. No one from the Greek Cypriot government was available for comment.
About the Author
Linda Cartwright is an expert on the regions of Northern Cyprus. More of her work can be found at http://www.meridieshomes.com
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