Russia to start direct flights, open consulate in Northern Cyprus

Russia to start direct flights, open consulate in Northern Cyprus
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Russia’s Izvestiya newspaper reported that the flights will be launched and the representative office will be opened by the end of the year but that did not mean Russia recognized TRNC

Moscow will open next month a consulate in the Turkish occupied northern Cyprus and to establish routes for direct flights to Ercan airport in Nicosia, Russian Izvestia newspaper reported, citing sources from Russia’s ministry of foreign affairs. 

On September 20, Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper claimed the flights would be launched on November 15, the date when the new Ercan Airport will be opened on the anniversary of the unilateral declaration of the self proclaimed Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC.) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will also join the ceremony, Milliyet said. 

But the sources talking to Izvestia denied that the launch of flights and the opening of the consulate mean diplomatic recognition. This will be done to serve ten thousand Russian citizens living in the north of Cyprus, they said. 

“The institution will be called the “Russian consular post in North Nicosia, without specifying that it is the TRNC. We plan to close this issue by the end of the year,” the source explained.

Sources noted that this was an initiative of one private Russian airline, and not the national carrier of the Russian Federation.

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.

He noted that a similar practice is followed by many Western countries that have opened consular offices in Taiwan, but call them either their points in the city of Taipei, without mentioning Taiwan, or simply institutions.

Since the split of the island into a Greek and a Turkish state after Turkey’s military intervention in 1974, the only country that recognized the TRNC is Turkey.