Despite this, Turkish and Turkish Cypriot air traffic control authorities don’t communicate with the island’s internationally recognized Nicosia ATC in the south and often issue conflicting instructions to passing civilian aircraft, resulting in numerous near misses between passenger planes in the past that the AP uncovered in 2011.
The danger is heightened because Turkish military aircraft don’t share flight plans with Cypriot government authorities and could fly close to civilian aircraft.
The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) cited a recent European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) study that the potential consequences of such conflicting instructions to civilian jets “could be detrimental to flight safety for aircraft” operating in the region. The same study recorded 166 “incidents” took place inside airspace controlled by Nicosia ATC in 2019, without specifying the exact nature of the incidents. The same study indicated that between 2016-18, there were 276, 260 and 254 “incidents” respectively.
FSF-MED said it would press international and European aviation safety bodies to express its concerns over the added risks posed by the drone base and to ask them to compel Turkey to comply with international air safety rules.
“FSF-MED will also stress that in case of an accident, responsibility won’t burden only Turkey, which is contravening international rules, but also those who could have forced the country to cease its violations but didn’t do it,” the organization said.