The European Union has officially recognised Turkey’s exploitation of migrants through the Green Line, the Interior Ministry announced.
It said: “After many months of difficult negotiations”, it achieved in Brussels “maximum diplomatic success.
“The recognition of the instrumentalisation of immigration by Turkey through the Green Line, which now gives new possibilities to deal with illegal immigration”.
In the text of the compromise proposal of the EU’s Czech Presidency to deal with instrumentalisation in asylum and migration, the Ministry of the Interior managed to insert a special reference to the Green Line:
“Although the Green Line is not an external border, it follows that the situation in which a third country or a non-state actor encourages or facilitates the movement of third-country nationals to cross the line should be considered instrumentalisation.”
The ministry said the inclusion of this reference in an official regulation of the EU is the first official admission by Europe of the instrumentalisation of migration by Turkey through the Green Line and provides the possibility for Cyprus to face the hybrid threat of Ankara and to stop the daily illegal crossings of irregular migrants channelled through the occupied territories.
“This extremely important diplomatic success of the Ministry of the Interior comes at a particularly critical period in which Turkey is daily intensifying its threats, mainly against Cyprus and Greece.
“Now, the instrumentalisation of migration through the Green Line is turning from a Cypriot issue into a European one and as such, it is expected to be treated from now on,” the announcement said.
Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said at the MED5 in June that Cyprus has the largest migration burden for the fifth consecutive year and needs the solidarity of its European partners.
He said after several years of Cyprus taking in migrants, asylum seekers are now 5% of the island’s 915,000 population.
The number of asylum-seekers in the first half of this year was 12,000 — equal to the number for all last year.
So far this year, 4,019 migrants who had their asylum applications rejected have either been deported or voluntarily repatriated.