Cypriots Warn against Rapprochement between Unrecognized Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan

ISTANBUL (Combined Sources)–The government of Cyprus said that direct flight between Nicosia and the capital of Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR) would be established if Azerbaijan does not abandon plans to forge tight relations with Turkish Republic of Northern Republic (TRNC).

Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan said last month that Turkey was ready to do everything possible "to help it [Northern Cyprus] surmount its international isolation," saying a direct flight between Baku and the unrecognized republic could be the first move.

A prive Azeri airline Imair announced last week it would begin regular flights to Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus–becoming the first non-Turkish carrier to fly direct to the internationally isolated enclave.

Last month Azerbaijan became the second state–after Turkey–to recognize Turkish Cypriot passport.

Most of Azerbaijan’s eight million population are of Turkic origin–and the country has very close cultural and political ties with Ankara.

Azeri Delegation in Turkish Cyprus

The first official delegation from Azerbaijan to visit the Turkish Northern Cyprus arrived in Lefkosa over the weekend to take part in ceremonies marking Peace and Freedom Day on July 20.

Erdogan said that the visit signifies de facto recognition of the Turkish Cypriot state.

The eight-person delegation–six of whom are deputies of the Azeri parliament–were met by Turkish Cypriot officials at Ercan Airport.

The delegation will be holding discussions with TRNC officials–with a second delegation scheduled to arrive soon that will be holding talks with Turkish Cypriot businessmen. Trade issues are also listed to be discussed during a visit by a third Azeri delegation between July 28 and 31.

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