NICOSIA – With Presidential elections looming, the candidate for the ruling Democratic Rally (DISY) party, Averof Neophytou, said bringing the island together again would solve the problem of migrants coming in, fearing some otherwise could be Muslim radicals.
He’s seeking the office held by President Nicos Anastasiades, who will be ending 10 years in office, and was unable to bring reunification which further slipped away after Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said he wants two states and world recognition for the occupied territory.
Neophytou said he was anxious about the influx of migrants to Greek-Cypriot side of the island that’s a member of the European Union, a trend he said was made more fretful by “our society’s low birth rate.”
“It worries me that thousands who arrive here, would increase significantly in a few years and become a sizeable percentage of the population,” he said and added: “And while we were worrying about the radicalization of Islam in other countries, we could have it in Cyprus,” The Cyprus Mail reported.
He said settling the division of the island where Turkish-Cypriots have occupied the northern third since unlawful Turkish invasions in 1974 is the answer and “will send a message of coexistence between two different religions at a time when radical Islam is a problem, caused either by Jihadists or the Muslim Brotherhood.”
He added that, “It will set a good example, that religion has never been a problem between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots; we want Muslims and Christians to be able to live together,” adding that Cyprus, in this way could provide a “message also for the relations between Arabs and Israel.”
“A settlement would also solve the migration issue and transform Cyprus from a cause of friction into the Switzerland of the Mediterranean for Israeli-Arab relations,” he said, mentioning that Cyprus could be the venue “for talks of Israel and the international community with Iran,” the report also added.
That came after he met ambassadors of Western countries and those of Arab countries, Russia, Cuba and Brazil, saying that, “as a European citizen, I am concerned about the change in demographics in the occupied territory, caused by the influx of settlers.”