Republic of Cyprus

Closed Ports and Airports


Restrictions imposed by the Republic of Cyprus on vessels calling illegally at ports in the occupied areas of Cyprus


The relevant restrictions have been imposed by an Order of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus issued on 3.10.1974 (P.I. 265/74) which declares the ports of Famagusta, Karavostasi and Kyrenia as closed for all vessels.

The relevant Order P.I. 265/74 has been adopted on the basis of section 25 of the Port Regulation Law, Cap. 294 as amended (now section 15(1) of the Cyprus Ports Authority Law 38 of 1973, as amended by Law 28 of 1979).

Section 15(2) of Law 38/73 provides for the relevant sanctions as follows: “The master and / or the owner of a ship which arrives and departs from a port closed for such ship or enters or stays therein in contravention of an Order under subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to imprisonment not exceeding two years or to a fine not exceeding seventeen thousand eighty six euro (17.086 ) or to both such imprisonment and fine, and in the case of a ship registered in the Register of Cyprus Ships, the Court dealing with the case has the power to order her deletion from the Register of Cyprus Ships”.

The above restrictions were taken in order to uphold and maintain the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over its ports and harbors and due to the fact that safety of navigation could no longer be guaranteed in the areas illegally occupied by the Turkish Army since 1974.

Illegal “airport” in Tymbou (so-called “ERCAN”)

1. The “airport” of Tymbou (so-called “ERCAN”) is an illegally operating airport situated in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus. The Government of Cyprus, as the sole competent authority to designate airports in Cyprus that are open to international air traffic has not requested the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to include so-called “Ercan” in the ICAO Regional Air Navigation Plan. This illegal “airport” is therefore non-existent in the eyes of international law and practice and its potential use amounts to an illegal entry into and exit from the Republic of Cyprus.

2. An attempt by the secessionist entity to include so-called “Ercan” in the ICAO Regional Air Navigation Plan was clearly and unequivocally rejected by the Organisation, who pointed out that the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has not requested that inclusion and as such, that “airport” “[…] is not and cannot be considered an international airport in ICAO terms”. The designated international airports of Cyprus can be found in ICAO Document 7910 – “Location Indicators”. Those are Larnaca, Paphos and Nicosia airports only.

3. ICAO’s policy on Cyprus is in conformity with that of the United Nations and the international community, recognising the Republic of Cyprus and solely accepting the authority of its Government over the whole island. It should also be recalled that according to ICAO General Assembly resolutions and Council decisions, a country not exercising temporarily effective control over its territory by reason of military occupation, does not lose its sovereign rights over such territory and the airspace above it.

4. Turkey, in yet another violation of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation (1944), to which both Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus are Contracting Parties, proclaimed the establishment of a so-called “Ercan Advisory Area” which lies in the northern part of Nicosia FIR and its adjoining southern part of Ankara FIR. The illegal operation and radio intervention of this station combined with the continuous refusal by Ankara Air Control Centre (ACC) to establish direct communication with Nicosia ACC cause serious concerns over safety, flight efficiency and airspace development in the region. It is recalled that ICAO, in its 1977 proclamation recognises the Department of Civil Aviation of the Republic of Cyprus as the legitimate authority for matters relating to international civil aviation and the provision of Air Traffic Control services within the whole Nicosia FIR.

5. The lack of communication between the competent ACCs (Nicosia-Ankara) is recorded in ICAO’s List of Deficiencies. Cyprus has repeatedly called on Turkey through ICAO, Eurocontrol and the European Union to adopt standard ICAO procedures and transfer southbound traffic to the contiguous Nicosia ACC while, Ankara ACC should take practical steps for the restoration of the direct voice link with Nicosia ACC.

6. Any possible use by international traffic of the illegally operating “Ercan” “airport” in occupied Tymbou violates international law, contravenes U.N. Security Council resolutions, the ICAO and the EUROCONTROL Conventions, and the EU acquis communnautaire, while ignoring these instruments’ and their related bodies’ respective norms, standards, procedures and recommended practices.

7. Finally, it is also worth noting that the illegal “airport” in Tymbou is located on property belonging to a significant number of Greek Cypriot refugees who were forcibly removed from their properties by the Turkish invasion forces. In that regard reference is made to the cases of Loizidou v. Turkey and Xenides-Arestis v. Turkey in which the European Court of Human Rights held that the applicants remain the legal owners of their property in the occupied areas and that Turkey continues to be in breach of Article 1, Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.


August 2014



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