NewsLocalLetter addressed to UN denounces violations of Cyprus' national airspace

Letter addressed to UN denounces violations of Cyprus’ national airspace

Cyprus Permanent Representative to the UN, Andreas Hadjichrysanthou, denounced in a letter to the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, dated 6 August 2021, violations of the national airspace of Cyprus.

As well as infringements of international air traffic regulations in the flight information region and the illegal use of closed ports and airports in Cyprus by Turkey during April and May 2021.

He also referred at the illegal visit of Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the occupied areas of Cyprus in July and the announcements of the Turkish side regarding the fenced off city of Famagusta (Varosha).

The violations are recorded in four separate documents attached to the letter.

Hadjichrysanthou underlined that the UN Security Council “must stand behind its resolutions and ensure that they have meaning; otherwise, we risk undermining the credibility of the international system”.

And that “Turkey’s aggressive conduct and persistent contempt for international law, as reflected in relevant Security Council resolutions, reached new heights in July 2021, further endangering the already violated human rights of the lawful inhabitants of Varosha and seriously harming the prospects for a settlement of the Cyprus problem.”

He noted that during his illegal visit to the occupied area of Cyprus on 20 July 2021, the Turkish President reiterated his demand for the “recognition of two states in Cyprus”, in blatant contradiction of the provisions of relevant Security Council resolutions, the United Nations-established parameters and the existing body of work.

Moreover, Hadjichrysanthou said that the Turkish perception of “reality” that led the five-plus-one informal meeting on Cyprus (27–29 April 2021) to an inconclusive end continues unabated and stressed that “in spite of all obstacles, we remain committed to a settlement on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with political equality as defined in Security Council resolutions.”

“In that regard, we are encouraged by your message of persistence and determination with regard to the efforts for the resumption of formal negotiations, as expressed in your latest reports to the Council,” he added, addressing the UN Secretary General.

The Permanent Representative noted in his letter that ” Turkey continues to systematically harass civilian and military aircraft
within the Nicosia flight information region with radio calls. Furthermore, it instructed the secessionist regime that it has installed in the area of Cyprus under Turkey’s illegal military occupation to purportedly issue six so-called `notices to airmen` relating to exercises conducted by the Turkish Air Force,” he said.

The Cypriot diplomat stressed that “the said actions of Turkey are clearly aimed at undermining the sovereignty of Cyprus, consolidating the ongoing de facto division of the island and attempting to upgrade the status of the secessionist regime through the alleged existence of a separate airspace over the occupied territory of Cyprus.”

He pointed out that “as stipulated, inter alia, in various Security Council resolutions, notably resolutions 541 (1983) and 550 (1984), there is only one Cypriot State, which is the Republic of Cyprus, and consequently, for ICAO, the Republic of Cyprus is the sole internationally recognized State responsible for the provision of air traffic services within the Nicosia flight information region in its entirety, and for publishing aeronautical information concerning that flight information region.”

Hadjichrystanthou noted that the airports located in the occupied area of Cyprus and the establishment of the so-called “Ercan advisory airspace” or “Ercan air traffic advisory services” and “air traffic control” units (not listed in the regional air navigation plan) are illegal and consequently their activity is null, void and operationally not taken into account by international air navigation and the civil aviation community.

The Permanent Representative said that the President of Turkey blatantly disregarded the clear statement of the President of the Security Council on Varosha dated 9 October 2020, as well as relevant warnings from international players, including the European Union, and, on 20 July 2021, together with the Turkish Cypriot leader, proceeded to announce “the second phase of the opening of Varosha”.

Furthermore, he underlined that Turkey’s disdain for the rules-based international order hit another high on 23 July 2021 when the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release using disrespectful language towards the Security Council, which, in discharging the duties entrusted to it by the Charter, adopted, on the same date, a statement by its President condemning the aforementioned Turkish announcements on Varosha.

As he noted “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs blandly states that it rejects the statement and calls on `the international community to face the realities on the island`”.

Hadjichrysanthou also said that a similarly provocative press release was issued by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 29 July regarding Security Council resolution 2587 (2021) on the extension of the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, which, inter alia, calls “on the Security Council and the international community to focus on reaching a settlement based on the realities”.

It is obvious that, according to Turkey, the so-called “realities on the ground” are in fact the situation that it created in Cyprus through the use of force, in violation of Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations, and the military occupation of one
third of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, the Permanent Representative said.

He noted that Turkey demands that the international community recognize changes born of aggression, in line with the defunct doctrine of the right of conquest, and openly declares that it will continue to violate Security Council resolutions, in total disregard of Article 25 of the Charter.

Hadjichrysanthou requested from the UNSG to circulate the letter and its annexes as a document of the General Assembly, under agenda item 44, and of the Security Council.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Numerous UN backed talks to reunite the island have failed to yield results. A 5+1 Informal Meeting that took place in Geneva, on April 27-29, failed to find enough common ground to allow for the resumption of formal negotiations in relation to the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN. Resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus be extended to include Varosha.

Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, announced in July 2021 a partial lifting of the military status in Varosha.

On October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6. Both the UN Secretary-General and the EU expressed concern, while the UN Security Council called for the reversal of this course of action.

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