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Change in status of Tymbou airport ‘aims to tighten Turkey’s grip on north’

a security guard stands in front of the ercan airport

The government on Saturday said the change to the status of the illegal Tymbou (Ercan) airport in the north was another action on the part of Turkey to put the non-government-controlled areas under its control.

News suggesting that the unrecognised airport had become a Turkish ‘domestic airport’ came just days after Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar dismissed proposals for confidence building measures (CBMs) drawn up by President Nicos Anastasiades.

The proposals included provisions for the illegal airport to come under the jurisdiction of the United Nations.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said this was another action on the part of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership that proves their long-standing goal to put the occupied areas of the island under the full control of Turkey.

The spokesman referred to “an action that comes in the wake of new illegal actions in the fenced-off area of Famagusta and the signing of the economic cooperation protocol which was accompanied by opposition from a large part of Turkish Cypriots, as was the case with the rejection of the CBMs proposed by our side”.

Pelekanos said the actions that the government has taken “to highlight the provocative attitude and behaviour of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership” are “well known”.

He recalled that last week, President Nicos Anastasiades sent letters in all directions in which he referred to the new illegal actions by the Turkish Cypriot side and the efforts made by the Greek Cypriot side to break the Cyprus talks deadlock.

The letters were addressed to the UN Secretary-General, the leaders of the guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey and the UK, all European leaders, the president of the European Council, the president of the European Commission and the president of the European Parliament.

Anastasiades, he said, also gave a live briefing to his European counterparts last Tuesday, asking them to impress upon Turkey the importance of ending unilateral actions and provocations in general, as well as putting the Cyprus problem back on track for resolution.

“Once again we are faced with the negative, intransigent and provocative behaviour of the other side,” he said.

Pelekanos added that the Greek Cypriot side would continue its efforts “exhausting all available means” to end Turkey’s illegal actions and resume negotiations for the resolution of the Cyprus problem.

The move to change the operation status of Tymbou airport was reported earlier this week by Turkish Cypriot media. According to the reports, the change aimed to reduce ticket prices as the facility would no longer operate as an ‘international airport’ although, any flights that operate to the north must always land first in Turkey and cannot fly in directly to the north. Under the new status, there will be increased flights to Turkey, while it is possible to introduce flights to additional areas of the country, the reports said.

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