Source: European Parliament
According to a New York Times report (28 January 2020), Cyprus is hosting more asylum seekers in proportion to its population (850 000) than any other EU Member State. Last year for example, 11 200 people arrived at the accommodation centres, transforming an EU Member State that is small in terms of both area and population into an uncontrolled ‘transit zone’ for those seeking to settle elsewhere in Europe. Many asylum seekers from Syria, Palestine and Cameroon travel to Turkey, where they are then encouraged to re-embark on flights from Istanbul to the illegal airport located in the northern Turkish-occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus. They then proceed to seek asylum in the unoccupied Republic of Cyprus. Pending a final decision regarding their applications, they are housed in one of two accommodation centres (Kokkinotrimithias and Kofinou), which are unable to cope with so many inmates. It is of course impossible to know how many others are entering through unofficial and unmonitored channels.
In view of this:
1 Has the Commission raised the matter with the Turkish authorities? How does it intend to address the problem in practice under the EU-Turkey agreement, given that Turkey does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus?
2 Does it share the concerns being raised in connection with the Turkish occupation and will it seek to address the problem in the context of the new EU migration and asylum policies that are currently in the early stages of development?