Though Turkish Airlines is one of the official sponsors of the Euro 2016 football championship public broadcaster CybC will not be airing its advertisements for legal and political reasons, the station’s head of sports Savvas Aristodimou said on Tuesday.
CyBC, which has secured the broadcast rights to the matches, scheduled to take place between June 10 and July 10, managed to get the organisers to agree that the station would not air any promotional spots for Turkish Airlines during the games.
“As soon as we were informed that Turkish Airlines was one of the official sponsors, I had meetings with representatives of the EBU, UEFA, and CAA11, which is the private company that manages the Euro 2016 rights,” Aristodimou told the Cyprus Mail.
He added that he also informed the government spokesman and the interior ministry, as CybC falls under its jurisdiction, and the foreign affairs ministry.
“Finally, after we put forward our arguments, they accepted,” Aristodimou said. He added that the Euro 2016 organisers agreed for the promotion by CyBC of other sponsors during those matches that were initially sponsored by Turkish Airlines. The same arrangements have been made for Armenia, he said, as they too objected in promoting the airline.
In the final letter, sent to the UEFA marketing Director Guy Laurent Epstein, the state broadcaster said that “due to both legal and political reasons, CyBC is unable to transmit the Turkish Airlines’ Euro 2016 publicity spots”.
It added Turkish Airlines flies daily to the illegal Ercan (Tymbou) airport in the occupied north of the island and that the government of the Republic of Cyprus (RoC), “as the sole competent authority to designate airports in Cyprus that are open to international air traffic has not requested the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to include the so-called ‘Ercan’ in the ICAO Regional Air Navigation Plan”.
“This illegal airport is therefore non-existent, under international law and its use amounts to an illegal entry into and exit from the Republic of Cyprus,” the letter said.
ICAO’s policy is in conformity with that of the United Nations, it said, which recognises the RoC as the only state on the island of Cyprus. “It should also be recalled that according to ICAO General Assembly resolutions and Council decisions, 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”.
It added that Turkey, also violates the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, to which it is along with the RoC, a signatory, as it “proclaimed the establishment of a so-called ‘Ercan Advisory Area’ which lies in the northern part of Nicosia FIR and its adjoining southern part of Ankara FIR”.
“The illegal operation and radio intervention of this station combined with the continuous refusal by Ankara Air Control Centre (ACC) to establish direct communication with Nicosia ACC cause serious concerns over safety, flight efficiency and airspace development in the region,” the letter said.
Any use by international traffic of the illegally operating ‘airport’ in occupied Tymbou, it said, violates international law and, contravenes relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the ICAO and EUROCONTROL Conventions, and the EU acquis communnautaire.
“Finally, it is also worth noting that the illegal ‘airport’ in Tymbou is built on property belonging to a significant number of Greek Cypriots who were forcibly displaced by the Turkish occupation forces,” it said.
It is therefore the official position of the CyBC, it said, that we cannot transmit any Turkish Airlines sponsorship material, as we would be advertising a company who does not respect the officially recognised RoC.
“We do realise though that, during the Euro 2016 matches, there will be visible banners of the official sponsors and we do not have any objection to that. Our request is to be excluded from broadcasting any sponsoring advertisement,” it said.
“Had we had known from the beginning, the letter said, that it would be our obligation to promote Turkish Airlines as a sponsor of the event, we would have refrained from securing the rights.”