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Direct flights from Russia to north – Turkish Cypriot media

Tymbou (Ercan) airport

Citing Russian reports, Turkish Cypriot media on Wednesday said that Moscow was ready to open a consulate in the north of the island and to establish routes for direct flights to Tymbou (Ercan) airport from November 15, the anniversary of the 1983 unilateral declaration of independence of the ‘TRNC.

According to Russian news outlet Izvestiya, two high-ranking sources from the Russian foreign ministry, behind the decision to start air routes and open a consulate, is the aim of supporting around 10,000 Russians who live in the north.

The sources said that like some Western countries, diplomatic missions are not listed as official and are called ‘offices’ to get around the issue of recognition of the Turkish Cypriot breakaway state. The example of Taiwan was cited in that although it is not officially recognised, some countries have opened offices in Taipei.

Yasar Niyazbayev, a Turkologist and Russian expert on Turkey, speaking to Izvestiya, described direct relations and the start of flights as a very positive development and a step forward, although it will not change Russia’s official stance on recognition of the ‘TRNC’.

“It is not feasible for Russia to recognise the TRNC and neither is this on the agenda,” Niyazbayev said.

The Russian embassy in Nicosia has already denied that there would be direct flights. Izvestiya, quoting high-ranking informed sources clarified that direct flights were an initiative of one private Russian airline, and not the national carrier of the Russian Federation.

“We are aware of the initiative of one of the private Turkish Cypriot companies to create an alliance with any of the Russian carriers, but the matter did not go beyond wishes,” the Russian embassy in Nicosia told Izvestiya.

According to the sources cited by the publication, the flights will be launched on November 15, when the ‘new Ercan airport’ will be opened in the presence of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

A second Izvestiya source, also familiar with the situation said Moscow was exploring the possibility of opening a consular office for the 10,000 Russians who live there who have no access at the moment to consular services. The ‘office’ being opened would be called ‘Russian consular post in northern Nicosia’.

“We plan to close this issue by the end of the year,” the source said.

The Russian foreign ministry told Izvestiya that Moscow “in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions respects the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, which excludes the official recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)”.

However, protecting the rights and legitimate interests of Russian citizens living in the north of the island was also of fundamental importance “especially now”.  Currently, the needs of Russians living throughout Cyprus are provided by the consular department of the Russian embassy in Nicosia in cooperation with the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus, the foreign ministry said.

There were discussions with the government of Cyprus on an ongoing basis on ways to improve access to consular services for Russian citizens in the north.

 

 

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