Turkish Cypriot Leader Calls Air Link-for-Land Offer “Stunt”

February 10, 2022

NICOSIA — The leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot side of ethnically split Cyprus on Thursday rejected overtures by Greek Cypriots to reignite peace efforts by offering international air and sea links in exchange for territory.

Ersin Tatar called the offer a “propaganda stunt” aimed at keeping his people under their rivals’ thumb. Accepting it would amount to the Turkish Cypriots indirectly acknowledging the “sole authority (and) sovereignty of the Greek Cypriot polity over the island,” he said.

The foreign minister of Cyprus recently proposed the return of an abandoned suburb to its former Greek Cypriot inhabitants in exchange for allowing an unrecognized airport in the north to operate international flights under United Nations control and a sea port to run under European Union management.

Varosha, a suburb of around 6.2 square kilometers (2.4 square miles) located on the Mediterranean nation’s once-prosperous eastern coastline, had until recently remained under Turkish military control. Its inhabitants fled during a 1974 Turkish invasion triggered by a coup aimed at a Cypriot union with Greece.

Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence, and it maintains more than 35,000 troops in the breakaway north. Peace talks over the course of nearly 50 years have led nowhere.

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides described the proposal as a confidence-building measure that would hopefully lead to a return to the peace negotiations.

Tatar is a strident proponent of a Turkey-backed two-state deal for Cyprus that diverges from United Nations resolutions endorsing the long-established parameters of an accord that would reunify the island as a two-zone federation.

The majority Greek Cypriots fear a two-state deal would formally partition the country and put the island under Turkey’s control. Tatar said negotiations can’t begin unless the Greek Cypriots accept their Turkish counterparts’ “inherent sovereign equality.”

The Greek Cypriot proposal lacks specifics, including whether flights out of the Turkish Cypriot airport would fall under the jurisdiction of the the Greek Cypriot-run air traffic control in Nicosia. But Cypriot Foreign Ministry spokesman Demetris Demetriou said the details could be worked out if Turkish Cypriots agree to discuss the proposal in principle.

Tatar instead proposed the establishment of a committee to negotiate the joint management and revenue sharing from the island’s potential offshore hydrocarbon deposits. He said his idea was a “genuine confidence-building measure” that could help “prepare the ground for a sustainable political settlement.”

The Cyprus government said the island’s potential hydrocarbon reserves aren’t up for negotiation amid fears that gas-sharing talks with Turkish Cypriots would impart legitimacy to the breakaway state. Cyprus’ Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said the monetary share which the Turkish Cypriots are entitled to would be deposited into an escrow account.



NICOSIA - Cyprus, which holds the record for being in the kitschy Eurovision song contest the most times without ever winning - finishing second in 2018 - is hoping to end the drought with performer Silia Kapsis’ song “Liar” picked for the 2024 contest in Malmo, Sweden.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


Firefighters Seek to Corral Massive Texas Wildfires Before Weekend of Higher Temperatures and Winds

CANADIAN, Texas (AP) — The explosive growth of the second-largest wildfire in Texas history slowed as winds and temperatures dipped but the massive blaze was still untamed and threatening more death and destruction.

NEW YORK – Greek-American Ellie Falaris Ganelin, gifted musician and Greek Chamber Music Project Director, announced a special replay of a concert to be broadcast on Leap Day, February 29.

STATEN ISLAND, NY – In an emotionally charged atmosphere, the parish of Holy Trinity-St.

ATHENS – The remarkable life of the Cretan-born master painter El Greco was presented in the opera performed February 13-20 at the Megaron Mousikis – Athens Concert Hall.

The following words – written by Wall Street Journal columnist Allysia Finley and published by that newspaper on February 11 – had such an effect on me that I felt compelled to share them with you: “When I stepped outside the Journal’s Midtown Manhattan offices shortly after 8 PM Thursday, I entered a crime scene.