Erdogan says discussed with Putin flights from Russia to northern Cyprus -NTV

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Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, U.S., September 20, 2022. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky

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ISTANBUL, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted by broadcaster NTV on Thursday as saying that he discussed the start of direct flights from Russia to northern Cyprus with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The breakaway Turkish state on the northern side of the divided island is only recognised by Ankara. Flights from Russia would provide support for the economy there, given the potential tourism income, Erdogan said.

"If direct flights start from Russia to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, we will of course be pleased," NTV quoted Erdogan as saying.

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The rise in tourism would lead to a "serious leap regarding the economy," he added.

Turkish media reported the Turkish Cypriot transport minister as saying that two Russian airlines were interested in starting flights to the new Ercan Airport, which will be opened on Nov.15.

Cyprus was split in a 1974 Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Since then, Cyprus has been run by a Greek Cypriot administration in the south that Ankara does not recognise.

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Reporting by Yesim Dikmen and Ece Toksabay; Editing by Ali Kucukgocmen

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