Cyprus' interior minister yesterday accused Turkey of deliberately channeling migrants for months to the ethnically-divided island's Greek Cypriot south to change the composition of its predominantly Greek population, the Yahoo News website reports today (February 29, 2020).
Nicos Nouris said up to two-thirds of arriving migrants reach the internationally-recognized south through the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north that is recognized only by Turkey.
"We maintain that there is a very specific purpose and aim, which is to alter the island's demographic character, and clearly we cannot continue to accept migrants in such numbers," Nouris told The Associated Press.
Cyprus was split along ethnic and religious lines in 1974 when Islamist Turkey invaded the independent island and seized the northern third of it following a failed coup by supporters of union with Greece. Cyprus joined the EU (European Union) in 2004, but only the Greek Orthodox Cypriot south enjoys full membership benefits.Turkey is the only country in the world that recognizes the northern third split of the island.