Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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Media Watch 2003

09 May 2003
Source: BBC
Comment: The following article appeared on BBC news online on 9 May 2003.
Erdogan calls for Cyprus trade

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for the lifting of trade sanctions on Turkish Cypriots.

"I am appealing from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to the whole world - the time has come to lift the inhumane embargoes to which the Turkish people of Cyprus have been subjected for 40 years," he said during his first visit to the self-styled state since taking office.

The Greek Cypriots eased some trade and other restrictions on their northern neighbours last month, but international sanctions remain.

The visit comes three weeks after checkpoints between the two sides were opened allowing people on both sides to travel freely to the other side.

There is pressure on both sides to agree to reunification before the island joins the European Union in May 2004.

A UN-sponsored plan was rejected by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in March but remains on the table.

Turkish troops

The BBC's Tabitha Morgan in Nicosia says there have been some suggestions that the Turkish prime minister might announce further concessions, possibly the return to Greek Cypriots of part of the coastal city of Famagusta.

She says Turkey is keen for talks on reunification to resume, in order to enhance its own chances of EU accession.

But Ankara has given no indication yet that it intends to abandon the breakaway state of Northern Cyprus, where 30,000 of its troops are stationed.

Mr Erdogan appeared on Friday to back calls for a loose confederation of states.

"There are two peoples with different religion and language, two separate democratic orders and two separate states in Cyprus," he said.

"The solution efforts in Cyprus should be based on these realities.""