Among the 13,000 asylum seekers who have taken refuge in the Republic of Cyprus since the beginning of 2022, most arrived on the island from Turkey, according to a report in Deutsche Welle’s Turkish edition, which cited the Greek Cypriot media.
According to the report, asylum seekers are brought to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), a de facto state recognized only by Turkey on the northrn side of the island, by human smugglers from Turkey. The asylum seekers from cross from there to the south of the island, the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member, via the poorly protected parts of the border between the two sides of the island.
The report, based on data from the Republic of Cyprus Interior Ministry, also revealed that 4 percent of the country’s population comprises migrants who do not have legal residence.
The Republic of Cyprus is also the leading country in the European Union for attracting the highest number of asylum seekers in comparison to its population. The large number of migrant arrivals in the country has prompted the government to repeatedly call on the EU to help it manage the applications.
Earlier in July, an EU official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity called on the Turkish Cypriot authorities to “toughen up measures aimed at reducing the rising number of migrants seeking asylum in the island nation’s internationally recognized south.”
The Republic of Cyprus government has also repeatedly accused the KKTC of “instrumentalizing economic migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.”