Top EU officials have said that the country would benefit greatly if the Turkey works with the 27-member bloc, they will be able to stem the flow of migrants from their airports and shorelines to the ethnically divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
Vice President Margaritas Schinas said Sunday that he is hopeful the Turkish authorities will demonstrate the same level of cooperation in curbing the migrant flow into Cyprus as they did in helping the EU to deal with Belarussian “hybrid attacks” pushing people across its border into Poland.
In regards to the migration issue, the Turks must understand something very simple: By working with Europe instead of fighting against it they will be able to gain much more than they would by fighting against it”, Schinas said.
During his visit to Turkey next month, Schinas will explore whether migrants reach the breakaway north of Cyprus by flight directly from Istanbul, or by boat departing from the southern coast of the country.
Cypriot authorities hope for an increase in migrants, with 85% of them coming first to the north, then slipping across the United Nations’ border.
As part of the tour, the EU official visited a buffer zone controlled by the United Nations that separates EU member Cyprus along ethnic lines. the EU official noted that the island was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded after backing a coup aiming for union with Greece.
Turkey has been accused of deliberately channeling migrants into the north of Cyprus by Cypriot officials.
In my opinion, what I have seen around the Green Line today is shocking. Visioning the problem from a distance has a completely different perception,” said Schinas, adding that Cyprus’ limited resources result in a disproportionate burden for the country.
During the past few years, Cyprus has received more migrants per capita than any other European nation, says interior minister Nicos Nouris.
EU officials are coopting with the Cypriot government to prevent migrants from crossing the border.
Additionally, the Cyprus government should receive significant financial support in order to cope with migrant arrivals and to swiftly repatriate refugees whose asylum claims have been denied.
“To do better on migration and asylum issues, we should no longer behave like firefighters rushing from crisis to crisis, but rather function as architects of a standardized, overall, cohesion-driving framework across Europe,” Schinas said.
A representative will be sent to the Istanbul airport as well as the breakaway north of Cyprus to check for migrants. Cyprus will ask the EU border agency Frontex to monitor the waters between Turkey and Cyprus.