The law to formally hand over the operations of the north’s Gecitkale (Lefkoniko) airport to the Turkish army was unanimously approved in ‘parliament’ on Monday.

The airport has been used for military purposes since 2019, when a number of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, were first stationed there.

It is now expected that the airport will be transformed into a military base.

Speaking in ‘parliament’, opposition party CTP Leader Tufan Erhurman clarified that the airport will not house warplanes, and that should Ercan (Tymbou) airport be out of action for any reason, Gecitkale (Lefkoniko) will be able to be used as a last resort.

Previously, Turkey had briefly stationed six F-16 fighter jets at the airport in 1998 in response to Greece’s positioning of four F-16s and two Lockheed C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft at Paphos airport amid rising tensions between the two countries.

The airport had been leased to former Polly Peck and Kibris Media Group owner Asil Nadir between 2010 and 2023. He had harboured ambitions of transforming the airport into a VIP and charter hub, but the ‘government’ terminated their contract with him in January last year, citing his non-payment of mandatory fees and “force majeure”.

The “force majeure” in question is a stipulation of a contract signed between the north’s ‘government’ and the Republic of Turkey in 2010 regarding the usage rights of the airport.

It did see regular passenger traffic as the north’s primary civilian airport between 2002 and 2004 while Ercan (Tymbou) airport underwent renovations.