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Greek Cypriots offer northern Turks a way out

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Greek Cypriots offer northern Turks a way out

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A sign of increasing political goodwill on divided Cyprus with the President saying he is prepared to open the country’s airports and ports to Turkish Cypriot commercial activities. Demetris Christofias made the offer at the meeting of the Council of Europe, and could be a major step in reuniting the island’s two communities.

Northern Cyprus, mainly Turkish, split away from Cyprus in 1974. It is only recognised by Turkey. Outside the EU, unlike the mainly Greek south, it is poor and underdeveloped. Access to Cypriot ports would stimulate trade and reduce the south’s dependence on Turkey for contact with the outside world.

Reuniting the two communities is also seen as a key test for Turkey and its EU membership aspirations. Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders say they hope to reach a deal by the end of the year