According to a top European Union official, the ethnically split island of Cyprus’ breakaway Turkish Cypriots must shoulder their fair part of the responsibility for reducing the number of asylum seekers who have arrived so far this year.
Cyprus’s NICOSIA (AP) — As the number of asylum seekers has dramatically increased so far this year, breakaway Turkish Cypriots in ethnically divided Cyprus must do their part to slow down migrant flows, a senior European Union official said on Saturday.
Margaritas Schinas, vice president of the European Commission, stated that Turkish Cypriot authorities must also be held responsible for limiting migrant arrivals.
After touring the improved facilities at the Pournara migrant reception camp outside of the city, Schinas declared, “We won’t let the Turkish Cypriot community consider itself neutral in what is going on.” We’ll find a method to remind them that they also have a responsibility to bear.
When Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 after a coup intended to unite it with Greece, Cyprus was divided along ethnic lines. An independent Turkish Cypriot proclamation is only acknowledged by Turkey. According to Cypriot government officials, a slackly regulated student visa system allows the vast majority of migrant arrivals to happen via Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot north.
Then, thousands of people cross a porous UN-controlled buffer zone in search of safety in the internationally recognized government’s stronghold in the Greek Cypriot south. Turkish Cypriots receive EU assistance, although only the southern region benefits fully from membership.
Elisa Ferreira, an EU commissioner, will meet with Cypriot officials in July to discuss the best methods to approach the situation, according to Schinas. He added that Turkey had shown a desire to lessen the flow of migrants into Cyprus.
Since the 180-kilometer (120-mile) area isn’t a legal border, the EU will also aid Cypriot authorities in increasing monitoring and surveillance of the buffer zone to prevent crossings in a way that is compliant with EU law, Schinas said.
When compared to the same period in 2021, the number of asylum seekers in Cyprus doubled to 10,000 in the first five months of this year, according to Interior Minister Nicos Norris, who also noted that they represent a record-high 5% of the country’s 915,000 southern residents.
He stated that additional financing from the 27-nation bloc for 72 million euros will be used to construct a new migrant processing center and that Cypriot authorities are collaborating with the EU to expedite the return of asylum seekers whose claims have been denied.
Although the Pournara center’s overcrowding has somewhat decreased recently, Miracle Chidiebera, a 27-year-old Nigerian, said there is still plenty of discontent among migrants over what he claimed is a persistent lack of water, subpar food, and crowded facilities.
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