Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said on Thursday he was to send an urgent letter to the European Commission, along with evidence proving the mass influx of migrants to the Republic through Turkey, to highlight the extent of the problem faced by the country.
Following a meeting with a delegation from AKEL headed by its leader, Stefanos Stefanou, the Minister said he briefed the main opposition party of his intention to draft a letter accompanied by evidence “which clearly shows that these people have arrived via Istanbul at the Turkish occupied airport of Tymbou, received a 60-day residence visa from the occupying authorities, and crossed into the free areas via the Green Line."
4,793 asylum applications in the first months of 2022, while a total of 13,500 applications recorded in 2021
Nouris expressed concerns, pointing out that 4,793 people have applied for asylum in the first months of 2022, while for 2021 the total was 13,500. He added that today there are 2,957 people in the "Pournara" Reception Center for migrants and that all have arrived from Turkey, while more than 95% of them are Africans.
Despite that hundreds of people are being transferred to another facility, “Limnes”, the overpopulation problem is not being resolved, he said.
The Minister said there was no other way than to take action with regards to the Green Line, to limit the flows. He said that the authorities are also focusing on returns, which, so far amount to 685, pointing out that this number is disproportionately small in relation to the arrivals.
He also said that Cyprus will submit a proposal to the EU for support for upgrading the “Pournara” facility and for infrastructure works at “Limnes” that are estimated at €20 million and €60 million respectively.
Stefanou said that his party feels that this complex issue can only be addressed if there are holistic, European policies and approaches that address the problem first and foremost in solidarity, primarily with frontline countries such as Cyprus.
"It is clear that we need European solidarity to be able to tackle this complex issue, and first and foremost we need the EU to finally decide on a key issue, which is the redistribution of refugees in the EU Member States according to their population and capacity," he added.