Cyprus Interior Minister Nicos Nouris on Sunday criticized the EU for pointing fingers at front-line countries confronted with alarming irregular migration flows without including Turkey.
He also said that Nicosia is intensifying its efforts to curb illegal crossings through the buffer zone of the Mediterranean island which is divided since a 1974 invasion by Turkey.
Nouris’ statements were prompted after the European Union’s top migration official Ylva Johansson told Greece this week to stop what she described as “violent” deportations of migrants or risk losing funds.
After becoming one of the main destination points during the migration crisis of 2015, Athens has extended a border fence and applied much stricter security on its islands near Turkey but has repeatedly denied accusations of so-called pushbacks of asylum-seekers.
Cyprus is among a handful of Mediterranean countries which expect over 150,000 arrivals this year as food shortages caused by the Ukraine conflict threaten increased arrivals from Africa and the Middle East.
Nouris stressed that a “semi-occupied homeland” such as Cyprus is now suffering an alternative type of colonization sparked by Turkey through the illegal channeling of irregular immigrants who by the thousands are pushed towards the Green Line.