Split Cyprus defends razor wire to halt migrant crossovers

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The federal government of ethnically cut up Cyprus got here below fireplace on Tuesday over a call to put razor wire alongside a piece of a U.N. managed buffer zone.

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It says the transfer is required to stem migrant inflows from the island’s breakaway north, however critics say the plan is “ineffective” and solely feeds the concern that partition might be cemented, amid a renewed push to renew dormant peace talks.

Crews started laying the razor wire on the southern facet of the buffer zone some 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of the capital, Nicosia, earlier this week.

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Critics, together with the communist-rooted opposition get together AKEL, mentioned the transfer solely leaves “huge question marks since it implies the delineation of borders and entrenching our homeland’s division.”

Farmers licensed to domesticate land contained in the buffer zone initially voiced some concern over entry to their plots, however the authorities mentioned it will act to ease entry.

Cyprus was cut up alongside ethnic strains in 1974 when Turkey invaded within the wake of a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots within the island’s northern third declared independence practically a decade later, however solely Turkey acknowledges it. Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004, however solely the southern half, the place the internationally acknowledged authorities is seated, enjoys full advantages.

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Cypriot authorities officers say the nation has the best per-capita variety of asylum purposes within the European Union. Most of these asylum-seekers cross a porous buffer zone after making their technique to the north, usually by business flights.

AKEL spokesman Stefanos Stefanou acknowledged Cyprus is having to cope with giant migrant inflows however insisted that “methods implying borders between states” isn’t the best way.

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“Nowhere in the world has the migration issue been solved by erecting walls, fences or barbed wire,” mentioned Stefanou. “These are (former U.S. President Donald) Trump’s ideas which this government is obviously copying.”

Different opposition events chimed in to say the transfer was very badly timed because it offers fodder to the present Turkish Cypriot management and its patron Turkey which need to forgo an agreed-upon federal framework to reunify Cyprus and strike a deal based mostly on two equal states.

Peace group Unite Cyprus Now tweeted that it anticipated authorities to “spend as much effort on reducing barriers as they do on building them.”

The federal government defended the transfer, saying that laying the razor wire is totally in keeping with European Union laws governing motion throughout the buffer zone and that each the EU, U.N. and native authorities had been briefed beforehand.

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Authorities spokesman Kyriakos Koushos mentioned no “political or other message” may very well be derived from the transfer apart from to guard public security and to hinder “unchecked migrant inflows that Turkey feeds by design, through our occupied areas.”

Cypriot authorities authorities have lengthy accused Ankara of actively encouraging migrants to use for asylum within the south to be able to “change the island’s demographic character.”

Koushos mentioned contact between Greek and Turkish Cypriots isn’t impeded since individuals from both facet of the divide cross alongside 9 designated crossing factors.

Lots of these crossing factors at the moment stay closed due to coronavirus restrictions.

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