Lefkoniko airport will be turned into a Turkish military airbase, the ‘transport minister’ Erhan Arikli said on Wednesday.

According to statements he made to Yeni Bakis, the airport, which is already being used to fly drones and planes, will be upgraded to a military airbase for the Turkish military forces.

He said that turning the airport in Lefkoniko into a commercial one had previously been blocked by the ‘civil aviation authority’ in the north, as creation of another commercial airport is blocked.

“In this way with this protocol, we have made something temporary, permanent,” he said.

In October 2022, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan implied that a military base like the drone base in Lefkoniko could be established in Karpasia, reports from the north had said.

Asked about a potential military base in Karpasia on his return from the European Political Community meeting in Prague, Erdogan said: “It is our right. Because we need to secure Northern Cyprus from all sides, in every aspect.”

In 2019, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), both unarmed and armed, started to take off from Lefkoniko airport on December 16, the Demiroren news agency reported.