EUROPE > Trabzonspor uses ‘shortcut’ for Greek Cyprus match

TRABZON – Doğan News Agency

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Trabzonspor squad are seen training before Apollon Limassol match. AA photo

Trabzonspor squad are seen training before Apollon Limassol match. AA photo

The plane carrying the Trabzonspor squad has taken an unusual route to reach the Greek Cypriot city of Limassol. Instead of traveling to Larnaca Airport via the Greek island of Rhodes, the plane changed its route to go directly to Larnaca Airport after taking off from Trabzon.

Trabzonspor takes on Greek Cyprus’ Apollon Limassol in its first game in the Europa League today, kicking off at 10:05 p.m.

The Greece-based Astra Airlines plane took off from Trabzon Airport at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 18. After the take-off, the pilot announced that the route had been changed and that they would be flying directly to Larnaca.

If the route had not changed, the Black Sea Storm would have had to take a long route to Limassol, from Trabzon to the Greek island of Rhodes, then on to Larnaca Airport, and then on to Limassol by bus.

The long route would have had to be taken due to diplomatic problems between the two countries. There are currently no direct flights from Turkey to Greek Cyprus, while passage from the Turkish Cypriot half of the island to the Greek half is also not permitted for Turkish citizens.

No change in Turkey’s Greek Cyprus policy

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Levent Gümrükçü made clear on Sept. 19 that the direct flight to Larnaca from Trabzon was not at all a sign of any change in Turkey’s policy regarding its position concerning Greek Cyprus. The incident would not lead to a new de facto situation either, he added.

“It is not possible for a plane which takes off from Turkey to directly land in the Greek side of Southern Cyprus, permission is not being given for such direct flights by Directorate General of Civil Aviation,” Gümrükçü said at a press conference, adding that the plane, which belongs to a private Greek airlines company and took off from Trabzon, received permission from the related authorities by notifying that it would make a stopover on the island of Rhodes.

“From our side, there is no change in our rules that are in force,” he said. “As of today, it isn’t creating any new situation in regards to Turkey’s relations with the Greek side of Southern Cyprus or its current stance in other fields including aviation,” he added, while underlining that it was understood that the incident took place upon the pilot’s initiative.

September/19/2013

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