“At the crossroads of three continents, the island of Cyprus is not immune to irregular migration. Both the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration of southern Cyprus receive irregular immigration from various countries“, a statement from the TRNC’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs read.
“Contrary to the Greek Cypriot side, our country is devoid of international assistance and struggling with irregular migration only with the support of motherland Turkey“, it added.
South Cyprus says it has the highest number of first-time asylum applications among all 27 EU members, relative to its population of roughly 1.1 million. Interior Minister Nicos Nouris has told EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson that the country can’t host more asylum-seekers “due to the severe burden” on its reception system.
Speaking at an EU Asylum Support Office conference in Malta last month, Nouris said Greek Cyprus is “obliged to take significant and drastic” measures along the buffer zone, adding that about 800 migrants crossed it recently within a period of ten days. Nouris added that 15,000 migrants have had their asylum applications rejected but cannot be deported because a lack of a coherent EU policy or agreement with their home countries on sending them back
The North Cyprus authorities, in regard to the irregular migration problem, say that the issue should be addressed within the spirit of cooperation and requires joint efforts with a sense of responsibility and support from the international community.
“We would like to take this opportunity to renew, once again, our proposal for cooperation on irregular migration, which poses a significant challenge to all of us“, it added.