Ferry services between Hatay, Turkish Cyprus start
Ferry services between the southern province of Hatay and Turkish Cyprus have begun with veterans of the Cyprus Peace Operation on board.
The ferry service has been launched by HADO, a company owned by the Municipality of Hatay, after securing international permissions, four years of work and a presidential decree for the start of the service.
For those services, HADO has leased a ferry from the sea bus and fast ferry company of Istanbul, İDO.
The Sinan Paşa ferry departed from the Arsuz Marina on May 19 with a ceremony with 300 passengers on board, including 17 veterans who took part in the 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation.
“We are planning to have ferry services to Lebanon’s Beirut and Israel’s Haifa,” said Lüftü Savaş, the mayor of Hatay.
Not only people living in Hayat or Turkish Cyprus but also tourists visiting the province will show interest in the ferry services, Savaş said, adding that this will boost tourism revenues in the province.
With the ferry services to Turkish Cyprus, Hatay has become the first municipality to conduct such international transport service, according to Bülent Ok, deputy secretary-general at the municipality.
Ok expects a large number of visitors from Turkish Cyprus to Hatay, which is famous for its cuisine.
Veteran Fuat Dalgıç said he is visiting Turkish Cyprus for the first time in 47 years.
“I was on the beach for three days when the military landing was launched. I was 20 years old back then and volunteered, now I am 70. Probably I will not recognize all those places,” he said.
The veterans, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar and Mayor Lüftü Savaş attended a concert held at an amphitheater in the province of Girne (Kyrenia) to mark the start of the ferry services. The Hayat Civilizations Chorus performed at the event.
The ticket for regular passengers for the 140-mile-long trip between Hatay to Turkish Cyprus is 750 Turkish Liras (around $47) and 500 liras for students.
Ferry services will be held twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays from Hatay to Girne and on Thursdays and Sundays from Girne to Hatay. Tickets are available on HADO’s website.