by Pavlos Xanthoulis
The numbers are buzzing about the huge problem Cyprus faces with irregular immigration and asylum seekers. In the first 10 months of 2021, Cyprus recorded flows of 10,868 people, of which 9,270 had crossed the Green Line illegally, while 70% are single men aged 25-40. The percentage of asylum seekers is 4%, while in the other front-line countries it does not exceed 1%, with Cyprus breaking one negative record after another, throughout the EU.
Yes, the humanitarian aspect of the refugee issue cannot be ignored. But, in no case can it exceed the obligation to ensure the survival of the state and its citizens.
The data submitted to the Council of Ministers demonstrate the tragedy of the situation. But what the data does not say is that the EU, the Commission and the partners of Cyprus are whistling indifferently. Not just today, but for years. Turning a blind eye to the orchestrated channeling of illegal immigrants from Turkey to the Republic of Cyprus, through the opposition line. Let's look at some data:
The EU knows that for many years Turkey provided "visas" to irregular migrants (it was also recorded in EU reports on the Green Line) in order to go to the Occupied Territories and from there to the free areas. However, no one paid attention to Erdogan.
An entire operation has been set up in the Occupied Territories to transport illegal immigrants from the illegal airport of Tympos to the Green Line, carrying out the channeling of flows in the free areas. And this is also known in the EU.
The EU Council and the Commission received two letters from Turkey (from the period when the Commissioners in charge were Cecilia Malmstrμm and Stefan Fule). In the letters, Ankara made it clear that it will not implement the Readmission Agreement with irregular migrants with the Republic of Cyprus because it does not recognize it. Simply put, the EU has known for eight years that Turkey, although proven to channel illegal immigrants to Cyprus, will never accept their readmission. And nothing has been done about it.
The Commission and our partners have also received letters from President Anastasiadis himself, in which Nicosia has been sounding the alarm for many years. And still no result.
At least five Member States, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia (Visegrad 4), and Austria say no to equal burden-sharing and therefore the burden of the refugee/migrant remains on the shoulders of the "front line" countries, including Cyprus.
Based on the Euro-Turkish Declaration (s.s. agreement) of 18 March 2016 (paragraph 3), Ankara must "take all necessary measures in order to prevent the opening of new sea or land routes of illegal immigration from Turkey to the EU and should cooperate in this regard with neighboring countries, as well as with the EU". However, Ankara has written on the soles of its shoes the commitment it made to the EU. and not only does it not cooperate with the Republic of Cyprus, but it also tools refugees and immigrants in order to alter the demographic identity of the Cypriot state.
Based on the above, it is understood that Turkey is not the only issue. It is also the Commission, and our partners in the EU, especially Germany, which sets the political line of the Community on immigration. Germany allows and continues to allow Ankara to have free reign in the Eastern Mediterranean, nurturing Erdogan's audacity and the instrumentalization of lives in which he indulges, determining the fate of Cyprus. At the same time as the Commission and Berlin are exhausting their sternness and launching a fifth round of sanctions against Belarus for instrumentalizing migrants and channeling them to the EU through Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, they allow the Turkish president to do the same in Cyprus as if it were a second category Member State.
Under the circumstances created by both Turkey and the EU's unacceptable stance, as well as its two-meter and two-station policy, the choices of Interior Minister Nikos Nouris are limited. Yes, the humanitarian aspect of the refugee issue cannot be ignored. But, in no case can it exceed the obligation to ensure the survival of the state and its citizens. And this is the priority of Nikos Nouris.