TODAY’S – Minister says temporary solution reached in truck row with Iran

Minister says temporary solution reached in truck row with IranTurkeyand#39s Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Lutfi Elvan has said that a temporary solution was found for the truck crisis with Iran that should clear the long line of vehicles waiting at the Gurbulak border gate in two or three days.Elvan said on Tuesday that Iran offered to discontinue implementation of new regulation introduced on Dec.

1 ordering Iranian officials to seal the fuel tanks of Turkish trucks at the Iranian border gate in order to prevent drivers from buying gasoline in the country, where it is considerably less expensive. Truck traffic will begin to move again, and the agreement will be observed until all the issues between the parties are permanently resolved in additional negotiations, he said.

Elvan said that the number of trucks waiting on the Turkish side of the border is approximately 1,200 at present and Turkey expects some 500 trucks per day to cross into Iran on a regular basis.Underlining the rule of reciprocity in the truck crisis, Elvan stated that Iran had been charging Turkish trucks extra fees for several years with the explanation that they were compensating for the difference in gasoline prices between the two countries, a violation of the principle of reciprocity.

Turkey warned Iran against continuing the practice several times before then imposing a border crossing fee on Iranian trucks. Iran then started sealing the fuel tanks of Turkish trucks, he added.

In October, Turkey introduced a border crossing fee for Iranian trucks to encourage Iran to reduce the $750 fee for Turkish trucks to cross the Iranian border that it charged to compensate for cheaper fuel prices in Iran. Following counter moves on both sides, a crossing fee per truck of $1,500 was imposed for both Turkish and Iranian trucks.

Iran also doubled the fee it charges for gas remaining in the fuel tanks of Turkish trucks leaving Iran.Elvan also commented that the scope and manner of implementation of the new regulation is one of which Turkey disapproves.

Elvan said Turkey had anticipated that Iran would only seal the fuel tanks of Turkish transit trucks that were crossing into other countries through Iran, not trucks going solely and directly to Iran. However, Iran made no such distinction.

According to Elvanand#39s statement, 241 Turkish trucks that had been waiting at the border gate crossed into Iran as of 2 pm on Tuesday and 167 Iranian trucks entered Turkey.Highlighting that there would also be relief on the Iranian side of the border, where the latest reports indicate that the length of the queue is much longer, Elvan said Turkey will continue to abide by the rule of reciprocity.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman