Turkish President suggests concrete actions

Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said on Tuesday that the international community should take concrete steps to end embargo on Turkish Cypriots.

At a joint news conference with visiting northern Cyprus leader Mehmet Ali Talat, Sezer asked the United Nations and the European Union to lift embargo on northern Cyprus, which is recognized by Ankara only.

"We also expect concrete developments in direct trade and transportation," Sezer was quoted as saying by Xinhua, adding that Turkey will continue to help economic and social development of northern Cyprus.

On the Cyprus issue, Sezer said the Turkish side favored a fair and lasting solution.

"We supported efforts of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and we still believe that the settlement of the problem should be within the scope of the UN," Sezer said.

For his part, Talat said the Annan proposal is a right approach and the world should perceive this approach, Xinhua reports.

Due to an economic embargo imposed on northern Cyprus back in the 1980s, the breakaway northern Cyprus has been largely stunted in development.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops took control of the northern third of the island following a failed Greek Cypriot coup seeking union with Greece.

Efforts to reunite the island failed in April 2004 as the Greek Cypriots rejected the Annan plan in a referendum. The Turkish Cypriot side, however, gave a green light to it.

Cyprus joined the European Union in May last year, but Turkish Cypriots have been excluded from most of benefits because of the division.

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