The European Union said on October 27 it was sending 38.1 million Euro in aid to the Turkish north of Cyprus. Officials said the funds would be used to end the current isolation of northern Cyprus by developing physical infrastructure, and promoting economic and social development on the divided island.
The funds will also help bring the Turkish Cypriot community closer to the EU, officials said. Turkish Cypriots were promised EU aid worth 259 million Euro for the 2004-2006 period two years ago.
But agreement on delivering the assistance was blocked by the internationally-recognised Republic of Cyprus which joined the 25- nation bloc in May 2004. Nicosia finally gave the green light to the aid package in February by agreeing to the delivery of 139 million Euro in aid to the Turkish Cypriots.
The European Commission said the overall objective of Europes financial assistance was to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community. Funds would also be spent on improving contacts between the two communities and with the EU. Officials said they were now hoping that Nicosia would also agree to earlier EU proposals for installing direct trade links with the Turkish half of the island. EU aid funds will be spent on solid waste sector programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, a feasibility study for the rehabilitation of the Lefke/Lefka mining area and upgrading the management of the energy sector.
Money from the EU? will also be used to improve urban and local infrastructure and support private sector development within the Turkish Cypriot community.?  More EU funds are expected to be made available later in the year. Cyprus has been divided into Greek and Turkish parts since 1974 when Turkish troops occupied the northern part of the island. The EU? aid package comes only days after the current EU Finnish presidency tabled proposals for a partial opening of Turkish ports to Greek Cypriot vessels in exchange for establishing free trade links between the EU and the northern Cypriot port of Famagusta.