Izvestia: Russia preparing to start flights to Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus

Ercan Nicosia Airport northern cyprus Russia

Russia is preparing to start air connections with the pseudo-state in the Turkish-occupied territories of northern Cyprus and to open a consular authority in occupied Nicosia, according to Russian newspaper Izvestia.

This could happen before the end of the year, high-level sources told the outlet.

The sources said the start of flights and the opening of the destination does not mean diplomatic recognition – this will be done to serve Russian citizens living in the northern part of Cyprus, which number about 10,000 people.

Similarly, Western countries open their consular offices in the northern part of the island, calling them "offices" and without specifying that they are in the pseudo-state, in the self-styled "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)", which is illegal under United Nations Security Council resolutions and recognised by no country but Turkey.

The Turkish parliament will welcome the start of flights to the occupied territories, but it is unlikely to change Turkey's position on Crimea.

On September 20, Milliyet newspaper, citing sources, reported that two Russian airlines plan to start flights to the occupied territories of Cyprus.

According to the publication, the flights will start on November 15, when the newly constructed airport will be opened. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will reportedly attend the ceremony.

Highly informed Izvestia sources confirmed the Turkish media reports, but clarified that it was the initiative of a private Russian airline and not the national carrier of the Russian Federation.

– This airline plans to organise direct flights, but this will not mean diplomatic recognition of the occupied territories by Russia. In this regard, Moscow's position remains the same, one of the sources emphasised.

A second Izvestia source, also familiar with the situation, added: "The Russian Federation is also exploring the possibility of opening a consular office in the northern part of the island."

— There is a study on the initiative to open a consular office in northern Nicosia.

More than 10,000 Russian citizens live there and consular services are currently not available to them. But the opening of such an office does not mean that diplomatic recognition will follow: the office will be called "Russian Consular Authority in northern Nicosia", without specifying that it is in the occupied territories.

"We plan to close this issue by the end of the year," the source explained.

He noted that a similar practice is followed by many Western countries that have opened consular offices in Taiwan, but call them either their offices in Taipei City, without mentioning Taiwan.

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