Cyprus Again Protests Turkish Air, Waters Violation to UN

The Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN Ambassador Kornelios Korneliou spoke about the Cyprus issue at the event. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej)

Although previous entreaties have been ignored, Cyprus has yet again protested to the United Nations over Turkish planes and warships continuing to violate the country’s airspace and waters and keeping foreign energy companies out of areas where they are licensed to drill for oil and gas.

Cyprus’ Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Kornelios Korneliou made the protest in a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who has paid no attention to the complaints. He failed to broker a reunification deal that fell apart in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said they would not remove an army on the northern third occupied since an unlawful 1974 invasion and that they wanted the right to militarily intervene again when they wanted.

Korneliou transmitted two documents the government said showed violations of airspace and the unlawful use of closed ports by Turkish warships, the Cyprus Mail reported.

He also reportedly told Guterres that the Turkish side unlawfull issued three notices to airmen relating to exercises conducted by the Turkish Air Force in March.

“It should be noted that Turkish commercial aircraft systematically use the illegal airport of Tympou. In addition, Turkey continues to systematically harass civilian and military aircraft within the Nicosia flight information region (FIR) via radio calls,” he wrote.

He added: “Meanwhile, Nicosia FIR infringements and violations of the national airspace of the Republic of Cyprus continue unabated. Turkey’s policy of persistently breaching international law and defying international rules and regulations puts the safety of international civil aviation at risk, has a negative impact on the stability of the region and causes difficulties for air traffic over Cyprus,” but there was no initial response.

He said the aim of Turkey – which doesn’t recognize the legitimate government and bars Cypriot ships and planes at the same time it wants to join the European Union to which Cyprus belongs – is to undermine the country and continue its occupation.

“There is only one legal authority in Cyprus, the Republic of Cyprus, as stipulated in various Security Council resolutions, in which the Council declared the establishment of the so-called ‘TRNC’ as null and void,” he added, referring to the name Turkey gives the occupied territory, the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus which no other country in the world recognizes.

“I strongly protest the continuing infringements of international air traffic regulations and the violations of the national airspace and the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey and appeal for their immediate cessation. The Republic of Cyprus reiterates, in this respect, its call for adherence to the principle of sovereignty and non-interference enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations,” Korneliou added.

Previous similar pleas and complaints have drawn no interest from Guterres or the UN which is trying to push for resumption of the reunification talks, expected to accelerate now that Erdogan won re-election in snap elections he called that gave him near-dictatorial powers.