Russia denies its preparing direct flights to Turkish-occupied Cyprus

Ercan airport Russia

The Russian embassy in Cyprus denied to RIA Novosti that there are any talks on direct flights between Russia and Turkish-occupied Cyprus.

CNN Türk, citing sources, claimed that direct flights from Russia to Turkish-occupied Cyprus may begin in November.

According to the report, Russian authorities also gave their consent, although negotiations between Turkey and Russia are still ongoing, with their outcome will be announced in the coming days.

However, this has been denied by the Russian embassy in Cyprus.

Cyprus has been de facto divided between the Greek and Turkish communities since 1974 after the armed forces of Turkey invaded the island in 1974. 37% of the island is occupied and in 1983 the pseudo-state "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" was proclaimed.

However, only Turkey recognises the pseudo-state.

Ercan (TYMBOU), where the flights from Russia will supposedly land, is a closed airport situated in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus, which the Government of Cyprus, as the sole legitimate and internationally recognized authority on the island, has declared since 1974 as an illegal point of entry into and exit from the Republic of Cyprus, for the reason of not being able to exercise control over the occupied part of its territory, as a result of the continuing Turkish military occupation.

Under International law the Republic of Cyprus is the sole sovereign authority with exclusive jurisdiction to determine which of its airports on its territory are open and functioning, as well as the terms of their operation.

It is also important to note that Ercan is located on property belonging to a significant number of Greek Cypriot refugees who were forcibly expelled from their properties by the invasion forces.

These refugees still remain the legal owners of their properties and they have never consented for the construction of the airport and its use as such.

In that regard reference is made to the cases of Loizidou vs Turkey and Xenides-Arestis vs Turkey in which the European Court of Human Rights held that the applicants remain the legal owners of their property in the occupied areas and that Turkey continues to be in breach of Article 1, Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The so-called Ercan airport is not recognised by ICAO, which is the highest international authority on legal issues relating to civil aviation in general. ICAO’s policy on matters relating to Cyprus is in conformity with that of the United Nations and the international community.

Consequently, ICAO recognises only the Republic of Cyprus and its Government as the sole representative of the whole island. It should also be stressed that according to ICAO decisions of 1974, 1975 and 1977, a country not exercising temporarily effective control over its territory by reason of military occupation, does not lose its sovereign rights over such territory and the airspace above it.

Furthermore, Turkey, in violation of the Chicago Convention on the International Civil Aviation, the constitutional instrument of ICAO, and its Annexes, to which 188 countries, including the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, are States-Parties to and following a number of illegal acts after the Turkish invasion, proclaimed the establishment of “Ercan advisory service” which lies in the northern part of Nicosia FIR.

The illegal operation of the unrecognised “ERCAN advisory service” causes serious risks over safety, flight efficiency and airspace development in the region and in particular increased workload and inconvenience both for aircrews and Nicosia ACC Controllers and leads to misunderstandings due to the intervention in the provision of Air Traffic Control Services.

Ankara ACC should be called upon to adopt standard ICAO procedures and transfer southbound traffic to the contiguous Nicosia control and to take practical steps for the restoration of the voice link between Ankara and Nicosia ACC's.

Any possible use by international traffic, of the illegally operating airports, such as “ERCAN” (TYMPOU), violates International law, U.N. Security Council resolutions, E.U. positions and contravenes the ICAO and the EUROCONTROL Conventions, and their respective norms, standards, procedures and recommended practices.

READ MORE: Turkey angrily reacts to the US lifting the arms embargo on Cyprus.