Greek Cyprus said to allow opening of Ercan Airport to int'l flights in return for Varosha

The Greek Cypriot administration has allegedly suggested a proposal that supports the opening of Ercan Airport in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus to international flights in exchange for the placement of Varosha under the UN administration. The Turkish Cypriot media outlets have said that the Greek Cyprus' offer has been already turned down by the Turkish-run part of the island.

People stand against the background of Varosha, an area fenced off by the Turkish military since the 1974 division of Cyprus, during a celebration for Orthodox Epiphany Day.

Nikolaos Stelya / DUVAR

The Greek Cypriot administration has allegedly offered the Turkish Cypriot administration that if the latter accepts the famous resort area of Varosha to be placed under the United Nations administration, then it will allow the opening of Ercan Airport to international flights. 

This offer has been on the agenda of the Greek Cyprus administration since 1990s. With the recent partial opening of the abandoned city, the offer has come to the foreground once again.

The plan envisages that Varosha will be returned to its former owners, which would be particularly important for the Greek Cypriots. On the other hand, Turkish Cypriots would greatly benefit from the opening of Ercan Airport to international flights, as the airport is currently allowed to offer flights only to and from Turkey, which are considered domestic.

The revival of this offer has not been confirmed by the Greek Cypriot administration, but the allegations have not been refuted either.

The Turkish Cypriot daily of Kıbrıs Postası has reported the Turkish administration has turned down this proposal as placing Varosha under UN administration is considered to be a major concession.

The breakaway northern Cyprus in October reopened the beach section of fenced-off Varosha, which was sealed shut for more than 46 years.

Greek Cyprus severely criticized the move, saying it ran contrary to international law.

Varosha was a predominantly Greek Cypriot suburb of the town of Famagusta on Cyprus’ eastern coast. It was abandoned by thousands in a 1974 Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup.