Fuel crisis in north, after Turkish lira collapse

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Motorists are queuing up outside petrol stations in the Turkish occupied north, as a fuel crisis is brewing following the collapse of the Turkish lira.

Turkish Cypriot media reported long queues of cars outside filling stations after two of the main fuel importers in the north announced on Wednesday; they will be closing their outlets once they’ve run out of existing stock.

Turkey’s lira has reached an all-time low against the dollar and the euro, dropping to 10.84 to the euro, with uncertainty looming over the future of the currency following another set of interventions in the country’s monetary policy by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The vice president of the north’s petrol stations association, Ertal Fidan, told Turkish Cypriot daily YeniDuzen that after the last increase in petrol prices, suppliers were calling for a fresh increase as losses were too big to handle.

They were losing 1-1.30TL per litre sold, he argued.

Currently, authorities in the north impose a tight system on fuel prices.

The president of the association, Levent Çağdal, said an automatic pricing system on fuel updates the oil price according to the exchange rate every 15 days.

The next price adjustment is slotted for October 26, but the distribution companies are already making losses.

He noted that compared to the Greek Cypriot side, the price of petrol is still lower in the north, while milk and meat are cheaper in the Republic.

Recently, Greek Cypriot petrol station owners claim that they’ve seen sales drop by up to 30% as motorists head north to refuel.

Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides has also tabled a proposal for checks on vehicles returning from the north.

But a petrol shortage in the north may render those plans unnecessary.