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Direct Flights are the beginning of the rewards

Source: Cyprus Observer  
22 December 2006

It is claimed that the Blair Government is very keen to start direct flights from Britain to Northern Cyprus and is searching for a ‘legal loophole’ to start the process as early as possible. According to an item in the Londra Toplum Postasi newspaper, a bi-lingual newspaper published in English and Turkish in London, the government is trying to find a “legal loophole” in order to start direct flights to Northern Cyprus, previously mentioned by Ex-Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw.

A reliable source said, “The political determination of the government about direct flights is obvious. But there are some legal barriers which are hard to get over.”

The same source also stated that the Blair government had not forgotten the Turkish Cypriot “YES” vote during the April 2004 referendum and were continually searching for ways to reward the Turkish Cypriots for their good-will and he went on to say: “The vision of Tony Blair and the Government is clear. It is obvious. It is believed that the Turkish Cypriots have to be rewarded. Direct flights are assumed to be a beginning for these rewards.”

The British government is currently assessing an application made by Cyprus Turkish Airlines (CTA) for direct flights from UK airports to Ercan, Northern Cyprus, according to a spokesperson from the Ministry of Transport. Another government official said that since 1992 depending upon customary technical, security, and health and safety requirements, any official airline company registered within the EU can fly in theory anywhere they want within the EU.

However, the spokesperson added that a decision made by the British government would likely be a political and legal decision, as neither Cyprus Turkish Airlines nor Ercan are within the EU. CTA is an Istanbul registered company. To encourage a positive decision on the part of the government, eight Lords have written a letter to the Daily Telegraph Editor asking for the government to look positively at direct flights from the UK to Northern Cyprus.

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