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Turkey Would Open Ports to Cyprus, Removing EU Block, NTV Says

Turkey has agreed to open its ports to Cypriot vessels, possibly removing one of the biggest obstacles to advancing its bid to join the European Union, NTV-MSNBC reported.

The agreement with EU negotiators would require approval from Cyprus, the news station reported on its website without saying where it got the information. Cyprus is an EU member that is represented by the Greek Cypriot government. The north of the island has been occupied by Turkish troops since they invaded in 1974 following a coup by supporters of a union with Greece.

Turkey proposed to open a major port, Istanbul or Izmir, in a first stage of the plan, followed by opening all of its ports to Cypriot commerce and tourism, NTV said. The agreement also includes limited permission for charter flights from Europe to the north of Cyprus, it said.

The EU has repeatedly demanded that Turkey open its sea and airports to Cypriot ships and planes, and the country’s refusal to do so has blocked advancement on 14 chapters of its EU negotiations, NTV said.

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