Cyprus Mail
CM Regular Columnist

Thanks to Tassos, Tymbou airport is not illegal

In 2004, Tassos Papadopoulos accepted the European Commission Regulation (EK)86604 which in effect legalised the operation of Tymbou airport

THE HYPOCRISY of our political and journalistic demagogues reached new levels this week after the earth-shattering secret revealed by Phileleftheros that Greek Cypriot students and teachers had flown to Trabzon from Istanbul on Pegasus airlines.

It is important to note that the super-scoop came from the foreign ministry, the breeding ground of the rabid rejectionists who, as I have written in the past, do not want to hear of a settlement because they are afraid it would endanger their careers. Therefore, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, instead of talking about the “strange and scandalous” leak of the letter by his lads, should deal with the extreme rejectionism within his ministry, for which he has a big share of the responsibility.

DIKO spoke of the “proverbial lack of communication which verged on being government-less” while EDEK said that the use of the airline of the pseudo-state constituted a monumental gaffe”. Lillikas’ party demanded that the “Cyprus Republic move legally against the companies that operate flights from the airport in Tymbou.” There were similar reactions from our political demagogues at the beginning of August when it was reported that passenger traffic at Tymbou (Ercan) airport was close to that of Larnaca airport.

DIKO, EDEK, Lillikas and Perdikis, instead of accepting that this was the result of their ‘resounding no’ in 2004 which made partition permanent, attacked the government and AKEL because they were supposedly opposed to imposing sanctions against the companies that “even violate the EU acquis” as well as the passengers that used the illegal airport.

The hypocrisy and audacity of these demagogues is boundless. The operation of Tymbou airport is not illegal. We have legalised it ourselves – by our great ethnarch Tassos Papadopoulos. Just five days after his ‘resounding no’ to the 2004 settlement this great defender of the Republic agreed with the European Commission Regulation (EK)866/04 which, in effect, legalised the operation of Tymbou airport. The government of the great ethnarch agreed that European citizens that entered through Tymbou airport would not be prosecuted and would be free to cross to the free areas.

It is this regulation on which the Nicosia district court based its decision on August 20, 2004 not to impose any penalty on Neophytos Constantinou, against whom the then attorney-general brought criminal charges for flying out of Tymbou airport. The court’s decision was a slap in the face for the Papadopoulos government and the attorney-general about whom it said that “acting completely against what was announced and being implemented by the government (re: Regulation 866/04) the prosecuting authority of the Republic targeted, of all the citizens of the European Union, the defendant and charged him.” A few days later, (September 8) the supreme court rejected two appeals against the decision by the attorney-general.

Nicolas Papadopoulos, Sizopoulos, Lillikas and Perdikis, whose political hypocrisy has scaled new heights, therefore, should leave aside the tough-guy posturing. Instead of accusing Anastasiades and AKEL “for the sake of the good climate” of refusing to take measures against companies and individuals using the ‘illegal’ airport, they should blame – if they dared – their late ethnarch who, five days after his patriotic ‘no’, rushed to legalise the ‘illegal’ airport.

And if they are so gutsy, they should also seek explanations of Greece’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, with regard to the Pegasus airline offices in a prime location in Athens’ Syntagma Square. I quite admire the owners of Pegasus, who in contrast to us complex-ridden moaners, had no qualms about giving the second biggest airline in Turkey a name taken from Greek mythology.

According to Greek mythology, Pegasus, was the offspring of Poseidon and Medusa. It was a winged horse which was seized by the Gods from Belerefontis whom Zeus struck with lightning. Pegasus was given a divine identity and stayed with the Gods. His job was to carry Zeus’ thunder and lightning from Hephaestus’ workshop to Mount Olympus. The Gods had given him immortality which means he is still alive today.

And as he is still alive how great it would be if he could direct some of his thunder and lightning on the heads of our political clowns and rid us of their audacious hypocrisy.

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