Turkey has created a new route for illegal immigrants to enter the European Union via Cyprus.
Cypriot leaders in the capital of Nicosia said that the new route “disproportionally burdened” the island country and that it has the highest percentage of asylum seekers in the European Union.
About four percent of Cyprus’ population is currently made up of asylum seekers — a number that is more than four times as high as the European Union average, Parikiaki reported.
The Cypriot foreign and interior ministries further announced in a joint statement that “the overwhelming majority of migration flows originated from Turkey, a country that fails to implement all agreements regarding migration towards Cyprus.”
“For example, it is slow to react to smugglers taking migrants away from Turkish shores and to Cyprus or to the Greek islands,” the joint statement said.
“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,” the statement added.
Nicosia said that there was an “urgent need” for the European Commission and other international organizations to assist the island nation at this time.
The government plans to highlight “the extent of the migration crisis faced by Cyprus” in Brussels to ensure it “receives the assistance required to effectively address it.”