The wife of Turkish Cypriot businessman Asil Nadir has said that she first learned from the media that the airport at Lefkoniko in the north would be turned into a military airbase.
According to Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Duzen, Nur Nadir made the comments in a video she uploaded to the internet.
Her husband owns Resource Consulting Ltd, a UK-registered company which in 2010 got the concession to operate Lefkoniko airport.
She described how sometime in 2019 her husband held a meeting with the north’s then ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar, the ‘deputy prime minister’ Kudret Ozersay, and Turkey’s ambassador.
Nur Nadir said it was at this meeting that officials cited force majeure – a clause in the concession contract – as the reason for converting the airport into a military facility, to be used by drones. Nadir was told this would occur “until the danger passed.”
She also said that at the time her husband had agreed, on the understanding it would be a temporary arrangement.
Nadir’s wife complained that she subsequently learned from the newspapers that authorities in the north would be terminating her husband’s concession on the airport.
In addition to invoking force majeure, which is supposed to be ongoing, authorities in the north reportedly also claim that Nadir’s company is behind on its concession fees to the ‘government’.
Nadir himself has threatened to take the ‘government’ to court over the decision to terminate the concession to Resource Consulting Ltd.
The company won the tender to operate the airport in 2010.
The airport – known as Gecitkale in the north – was first used for military purposes in December 2019 when a Bayraktar TB2 type armed drone was deployed from Dalaman Naval Air Base Command and landed there.
It had been stated at the time the airport would be converted into a military base for the time being.
Nadir argues the airport can be used for both civilian and military purposes.
Converting it to a military base would cause thousands of people to lose their jobs, he has said.