Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides and Interior Minister Nikos Nouris last week met to coordinate their approach in negotiations on the migration issue and Turkey’s stance.
“The percentage of asylum applicants and beneficiaries of international protection amounts to 4% of the population, a particularly high percentage, given that in all other member states the percentage is close to 1%,” according to a joint statement.
Cyprus says it’s dealing with a large flow of irregular migration from Turkey, a country that “fails to implement all agreements regarding migration towards Cyprus.”
“In fact, Turkey’s stance has led to the creation, rather than prevention, of a new migration route in the eastern Mediterranean, which disproportionally burdens Cyprus, and places enormous strain on the national asylum system.”
Most migrants enter illegally via the UN-patrolled buffer zone from the Turkish occupied north.
The two ministries agreed on an action plan at a political and technocratic level. They are pushing for more assistance from the bloc in terms of funding and personnel while also seeking more effective legal returns.
According to the Interior Minister, Cyprus received approximately 17,000 asylum applications in 2019, an increase of over 500% compared with 2015.