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Cyprus has no choice but to fence off green line: interior minister

Υπουργός Εσωτερικών – Μνημόσυνο ήρωα Ανδρέα Αβρααμίδη
File photo: Nicos Nouris

The government will not sit idly amid the flow of irregular migrants from the north, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said on Sunday, announcing Cyprus will fence off the green line, to put a halt to what he called Turkey’s attempts to alter the country’s demographic

The government began placing a barbed wire fence last year, much to the ire of opposition parties who said this promotes partition. It also frustrated farmers on the buffer zone who found this impeded their work.

“The pseudo dilemmas that some people posit and the criticisms, come from a small minority of people. These don’t affect us (the government), because our every action aims to serve the best interests of the country,” Nouris said.

Both those governing Cyprus and opposition need to come to the realization that “there is only one enemy” and “with the danger we currently face, there is no room for party disputes or vote-seeking tactics,” he added.

Nouris said Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain have been warning over their asylum seeker applications reaching one per cent of the population, with the minister questioning what Cyprus should do with the figure amounting to six per cent.

The minister stated the irregular migrant flows were an illegal invasion of people in the government controlled areas, as part of Turkey’s moves to change Cyprus’ demographics. Nouris added this is a ploy “from the Turks” to cause financial, social and political problems to the country.

Nouris hailed the recent draft Regulation of the European Commission “which officially recognizes for the first time, the right to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the Republic through the green line, clarifying that this is not the external border.”

“We have no misgivings or hesitation in helping and supporting those who truly need it. Those coming from Turkey are not refugees but economic migrants.”

Nouris noted it was for that reason he asked the Council of Ministers in Luxembourg to include specific conditions that can protect Cyprus from migrant flows, before Turkey receives €200 million in aid from the block.

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