Cyprus claims 85% of asylum seekers entered from Turkey-backed north

Mediterranean island received 13,235 new applications in 2021

Cypriot Interior Minister Nicos Nouris reported increased migration flows from the northern part of Cyprus.  EPA
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Cyprus has said that 85 per cent of the asylum applications it received last year came from those who entered from the north of the divided island, which is run by a Turkey-backed breakaway administration.

Interior minister Nicos Nouris said 13,235 new applications were received in 2021 and that Cypriot authorities managed to examine 16,000 cases — nearly 13,000 of which were rejected.

He added that 1,335 new asylum applications were received in January, double the number received in the same month two years ago.

The minister was speaking after talks with Beate Gminder, who heads the European Commission’s Migration Management Task Force.

He said the majority of the migrants came from Sub-Saharan Africa and entered northern Cyprus from Turkey’s Istanbul airport or its southern ports.

They then crossed the UN-controlled buffer zone to get to southern Cyprus, which is run by the internationally recognised Greek-Cypriot government.

The island has been split since 1974 when Turkey invaded northern Cyprus following a brief Greek-backed coup.

The administration in northern Cyprus is only recognised by Turkey, and decades of talks aimed at reunifying the island have failed to make headway.

Updated: February 02, 2022, 3:31 PM