Turkey does not plan to open a new gate at the Iraqi border in addition to the Habur gate for the time being, according to the minister responsible for customs.
Deputy prime minister responsible for customs Hayati Yazıcı said there were no spatial arrangements on either side of the border, although administrative work to set up a customs directorate at the Ali Rıza border gate was completed years ago.
"If Habur falls short of satisfying the trade volume, we do what is necessary. But Habur is sufficient; we only lacked personnel here," Yazıcı said.
Yazıcı also said the recent problems at Habur caused by heavy traffic have been solved by additional staff deployment. He gave assurances that the waiting periods would be reduced after the bayram period.
The Habur Border Gate is one of the most important border gates of Turkey, through which most of the trade with Iraq and its vicinity is conducted. However, due to the heavy traffic and long waiting process, a truck has to wait 10 to 12 days to pass the border, which harms the goods it carries and increases costs. "In recent months as many as 10,000 trucks accumulated on the border gate on the Iraqi side and 7,000 to 8,000 on the Turkish side," he said. The problem with Habur gate has been solved. Since the beginning of November, the number of trucks that went in and out doubled, Yazıcıoğlu said.
Yazıcı underlined that the additional staff appointments to the Habur gate to solve the mass accumulation of trucks were only temporary. "Our appointment is for a period of three months. We may extend the duration for an additional three months if the traffic so requires," Yazıcı said. The minister maintained the electronic vehicle registering system was out of order for the moment but security and safety measures were not being compromised.