Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
Print this page Print Bookmark and Share
Media Watch 2004

29 October 2004
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author: Menelaos Hadjicostis
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 29 October 2004.
Direct Tymbou flights against world law – Tassos
"... it was within the Cyprus Republic's jurisdiction to determine which sea and airports were illegal and Tymbou airport, as well as Kyrenia and Famagusta ports, are illegal because of the continued Turkish military occupation of the island's northern third."

ATTEMPTS to establish direct air links with the Turkish-held north fly in the face of international law and violate the sovereignty of the Cyprus Republic, President Tassos Papadopoulos said.

Papadopoulos said Nicosia is in constant contact with the world's air traffic governing body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, to thwart any bid for direct flights to occupied Tymbou airport.

"I believe that our legal and political position is very strong and certainly, as we always do, we will make those positions known.

"We have already contacted the ICAO and we will continue our efforts because this constitutes a violation of international law as well as of the Cyprus Republic's sovereignty," Papadopoulos told reporters at Larnaca airport yesterday before flying to Rome for an EU summit.

Papadopoulos said Washington assured the Cyprus government that an inspection of Tymbou airport by an American two-man team of airport security experts was a "preliminary" visit that did not signal US intentions to establish direct air links.

Harbinger
Turkish Cypriot officials, however, played up the visit as a harbinger to the first-ever direct flights from the US to the occupied north.

The Turkish Cypriot press also ran unconfirmed reports that a team of EU airport experts had also inspected Tymbou.

Washington and London view direct flights as instrumental to lifting Turkish Cypriots out of their economic and political "isolation" and to reward them for voting for the UN reunification plan in last April's referendums.

But Nicosia says such a move is not only illegal, it would drive the two communities apart by entrenching the island's division.

Foreign Minister George Iacovou said yesterday that the chances for direct flights are "remote" even if Washington believes that lifting Turkish Cypriots out of their isolation involves such air links.

"But the US knows that there are serious problems with this, such as issues concerning international law and international conventions," said Iacovou.

Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said international law and ICAO rules and regulations expressly forbid the use of unrecognised sea and airports.

He said it was within the Cyprus Republic's jurisdiction to determine which sea and airports were illegal and Tymbou airport, as well as Kyrenia and Famagusta ports, are illegal because of the continued Turkish military occupation of the island's northern third.

"International organisations as well as others who are trying to transgress these principles by any means must respect this," said Chrysostomides."