Cyprus seeks EU action to curb illegal migration via Turkey

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Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said he expects Brussels to show more sensitivity about external borders in a bid to curb irregular migration to Cyprus via Turkey.

He said there was a fresh wave of migrant arrivals making October “a very bad month” with more than 1,500 arrivals of irregular migrants.

They are said to have crossed the UN-patrolled buffer zone separating from the Turkish-occupied north to the Republic of Cyprus.

The minister said the majority of migrant flows stem from Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Irregular migrants are clearly coming through Turkey; the relevant information has been passed on to the EU from the President himself”.

Nouris said recent Home Affairs Council decisions acknowledged the need to safeguard the buffer zone in Cyprus, despite the fact it does not constitute an external border.

He talked about introducing monitoring and technical capabilities, including CCTV, noting that “all necessary measures for deterrence will be used” since the country “cannot continue to accept and receive this number” of migrants.

“We are ready to support refugees, those persecuted and those in real need.”

Cyprus’ request for bilateral EU agreements and return mechanisms have been included in Home Affairs Council decisions.

Nouris said Brussels was “very sensitive” to the situation at the external land borders in Lithuania and Poland and hoped that something similar would be implemented for Cyprus.

Asked about the role of Frontex off the Turkish coast, he said Turkey assumes an uncooperative stance, by not accepting Frontex’s presence in its territorial waters, in addition to Ankara policy not recognising the Republic of Cyprus.