Cypriot authorities said they would suspend asylum applications amid an influx of migrants.
The island was facing “demographic change” and “acute socio-economic effects” as a result the migrant crisis, Greek Cypriot government spokesperson Marios Pelekanos said, adding that they would request the European Commission to take action.
Cyprus says it has the highest number of first-time asylum applications among all 27 EU members relative to its population of roughly one million.
Migrant flows recorded in 2021 were 38% higher than for all of last year, said Pelekanos.
In the first 10 months of the year, 10,868 irregular migrants arrived in Cyprus, he said.
The current flows added to the more than 33,000 people already illegally residing in the republic, the government spokesman added.
At an EU Asylum Support Office conference in Malta last month, Interior Minister Nicos 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 10-day span.
Nouris added that 15,000 migrants have had their asylum applications rejected but can’t be deported because there’s no coherent EU policy – or agreement with their home countries – on sending them back.
On July 20, 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus, violating all rules of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations.
The international community considers the TRNC’s territory as Turkish-occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus. The occupation is viewed as illegal under international law, amounting to illegal occupation of European Union territory since Cyprus became a EU member.