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Cyprus accuses Turkey of illegally trafficking migrants

Cyprus' interior minister is accusing Turkey and Turkish Cypriots of helping to traffick migrants [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 June, 2019

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Cyprus' interior minister has claimed it is 'certain' that a mass influx of migrants is arriving by aircraft to the breakaway north of Cyprus from Turkey.

Cyprus' interior minister is accusing Turkey and breakaway Turkish Cypriots of helping to traffick migrants to the internationally recognised southern part of the ethnically split island nation.

Constantinos Petrides told state radio on Monday it's "now certain" that a mass influx of migrants is arriving by aircraft to the breakaway north of Cyprus from Turkey.

He called Turkish Cypriot authorities facilitators of people trafficking rings, in collaboration with Turkey, adding that this "cannot be tolerated on a European level."

Petrides said that, in May alone, 747 migrants crossed southward. Many of the arrivals are from Africa and Asia, with Syrians comprising only 25-30% of arrivals.

He said this can't continue and that Cyprus' policy of accepting third-country asylum claimants through the breakaway north will be reviewed.

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