Russian Companies Exploring Direct Flights to Northern Cyprus - Turkish Cypriot Leader
18:39 GMT 22.09.2022 (Updated: 18:43 GMT 22.09.2022)
© AP Photo / Bilal HusseinA cargo ship navigates the Mediterranean Sea along the coastline of northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon, Monday, Dec. 6, 2021.
© AP Photo / Bilal Hussein
UNITED NATIONS, (Sputnik) - Russian companies are examining opportunities for direct flights to Northern Cyprus, but no official decision has been made yet, Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar told Sputnik.
On Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he has discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin the possibility of launching direct flights from Russia to the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. CNN Turk reported, citing sources, that such flights may begin in November.
"From my Ministry of Transport, they tell me that one private company applied to … Turkish Cypriot civil aviation, that they might fly from Russia," Tatar said.
Tatar added he has not received any direct requests from the Turkish and Russian governments to authorize such flights.
"I think it might be those private companies who are trying to explore, explore the opportunities how to carry tourists, to Northern Cyprus, it might be, which I think is only fair," Tatar said. "If private companies want to fly their airplanes to North Cyprus to carry tourists to North Cyprus, this can only be welcome, because we in Cyprus, we are trying to obviously improve our economic situation and tourism is the main industry."
Tatar said the lack of direct flights to that part of the island has impeded the tourism industry.
He also underscored that Turkish Cypriots really care about the Russian people because they chose to live in his country and have integrated into their society. North Cyprus universities have many Russian academics and students while thousands of children attend its elementary schools, he added.
Tatar said the conflict in Ukraine has led to complications with Russians coming to the country.
"The Greek Cypriot government in the south, because they're in line with the European regulations and the Western world, they're imposing embargoes and other isolations to the Russian people and to Russian economic developments," he added.
Tatar said if need be he will consult with Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to see how they would interpret any developments as far as these issues are concerned.
Tatar went on to say that North Cyprus is fighting for its equality, as through international agreements, it is a separate community.
"In theory, everybody knows, the United Nations knows, the Europeans know, they all know that there are two peoples in Cyprus. One is Turkish Cypriot, and the other is Greek Cypriot. There is no Cypriot nation as such," he said. "So, we are very much kind of disappointed by the international community that they still insist that the Republic of Cyprus, now that they're in Europe, represents the whole of Cyprus. This is not the case."
Tatar said although he would welcome Russian recognition of his country, he knows there are difficulties.
"I'm not trying to politicize the issue, because [it's] very easy to say, oh, Russia is going to recognize us tomorrow, [but] that can complicate things," Tatar stated.
Tatar said they deserve more respect and a more humanitarian approach as they fight for independence.
"We... have been able to demonstrate our strength of character to exist, to survive, to have our own state, to have our own self-determination," Tatar said.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was declared in 1983 with Turkey's backing, although the island had been de facto divided since 1974. In late June, Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades expressed his readiness to resume negotiations under UN auspices.