EU Aims for Deal with Turkey to Stem Migrant Flows to Cyprus

September 28, 2021

NICOSIA — The European Union could work out ways to stem the flow of migrants from Turkey to Cyprus and other EU nations when it holds high-level talks in Ankara next month, a top EU official said Tuesday. 

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said "it's not impossible to find a way forward" on preventing migrants from leaving Turkey to reach Cyprus because the number of migrants reaching Cyprus isn't very large relative to the huge number of refugees whom Turkey hosts. But she couldn't say what such a deal would look like.

Johansson said she wanted to learn firsthand the difficulties faced by ethnically divided Cyprus, which she said has the most asylum applications among all EU nations relative to its population. She also visited a migrant reception center on the outskirts of the Cypriot capital of Nicosia.

"We have faced…a lot of challenges in our relations with Turkey. Now, we are in a situation where these relations are … being better," Johansson said after talks with Cypriot Interior Minister Nicos Nouris. 

Nouris accused Turkey of "systematically and on a daily basis" encouraging migrants arriving at Cyprus' breakaway Turkish Cypriot north to cross a United Nations buffer zone into the internationally recognized south, where they apply for asylum in an EU nation. Cypriot officials say about 80% of migrant arrivals to the south are channeled from the north

Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence.

Nouris said Cyprus is strengthening its marine police to prevent the arrivals of smuggling boats full of migrants and is stepping up patrols and electronic surveillance along the southern edges of the buffer zone. He said since the start of the year, 7,000 out of 8,500 asylum applications have been rejected but only 300 people have been repatriated because of an EU-wide policy "weakness."

Johansson said she has "question marks" about an agreement Cyprus has with Lebanon to send back migrants aboard boats nearing the Cypriot coastline. She said EU regulations stipulate that people can seek asylum at the bloc's sea borders.

Nouris has said the agreement with Lebanon stands and the return of migrants to that country will continue.



ANKARA - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu said Greece and Cyprus are harboring terrorist groups targeting his country and directed threats at the Greek-Cypriot government if there are any attacks on Turkey or the Turkish-Cypriot side.

Top Stories


BOSTON – The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in its recent meeting dealt with the ecclesiastical coup perpetrated by the Patriarchate of Moscow in its canonical jurisdiction, calling it an “immoral invasion and intrusion.


NEW YORK - Some 21 years after it was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States that brought down the Twin Towers in New York City, the new St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church rising in its place is among the most eagerly awaited architectural openings of 2022.


STATEN ISLAND, NY – For yet another year, the community of Holy Trinity-St Nicholas in Staten Island honored couples celebrating 50+ years of marriage with a modest ceremony held at the church immediately following the Divine Liturgy on January 16.


SNF’s Health Initiative Will Support Child and Adolescent Mental Health

ATHENS - When we think about childhood injuries, we usually think of scratches, a few stitches, maybe even a broken bone.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.