Nicosia protests over Turkish meddling in north

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Cyprus will lodge a complaint with the United Nations over Turkey’s new financial assistance deal with breakaway Turkish Cypriots that proves Ankara’s “complete control” over them,  President Nicos Anastasiades told CyBC TV.

He said he would also include in the protest Turkey’s move to designate the north’s Tymbou airport (Ercan) as a domestic flight route, effectively turning it into a Turkish one.

Turkish Cypriots fear that the financial deal and the airport designation are the clearest signals yet that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to annex the occupied north.

“I will proceed with the complaint again with the United Nations relative to the airport which … in essence is being integrated and considered a Turkish airport,” Anastasiades said.

“Secondly, (financial) protocol clearly demonstrates Ankara’s complete control of the Turkish Cypriots.”

Turkish officials argue the designation aims to make flights to and from northern Cyprus cheaper.

Hardline Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar dismissed Anastasiades’ remarks as “Greek Cypriot propaganda” ahead of presidential elections next year.

He also hailed the financial agreement as “great importance” to reinvigorate the Turkish Cypriot economy.

Turkish Cypriot trade unions have protested against the new financial protocol providing about €240 mln worth of grants and loans this year, about a third of annual revenues.

Although the north has always been dependent on Turkish economic aid, the peace group United Cyprus Now says this deal compels Turkish Cypriots to introduce measures curbing freedom of speech, making it easier for Turkish citizens to buy property and ceding more power to religious authorities.