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UK rules out direct flights to the north

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The UK Government has made clear there are “no plans to authorise direct flights between the UK and the north of Cyprus” after a campaign for an air link to the Turkish occupied areas.

In response to a Turkish Cypriot petition on the British Parliament’s website, the Foreign Office stated that only Turkey recognised the breakaway north.

“In accordance with the rest of the international community, with the sole exception of Turkey, the UK does not recognise the self-declared ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ as an independent state; the United Kingdom recognises the Republic of Cyprus as the sovereign authority for the island of Cyprus.

“As a result, the UK Government cannot negotiate an Air Services Agreement with the administration in the north of Cyprus.”

London’s response came after the petition gathered more than 12,000 signatures. Any petition with more than 10,000 supporters elicits a government response.

The Foreign Office cited a UK court decision from 2009 ruling out direct flights between Britain and the airport in Turkish-occupied Tymbou.

“In light of the above, it would be unlawful for the Government to authorise direct flights to the northern part of Cyprus.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. (Source CNA)