13 thousand refugees applied for asylum in Cyprus Republic and Turkish citizens were the majority of those applications, Deutsche Welle Turkish said, citing from a Cyprus state radio report.
The tiny EU member state asked for help from the bloc as it received the highest rate of asylum applications compared to its population of 1.2 million, the radio said.
The radio also cited from the officials that the majority of asylum seekers originated from Turkey. Officials said the human smugglers took the refugees to the Turkish side and then guided them to cross to the south through the weakly protected parts of the line between the ethnically divided island.
Turkey made a military intervention in the ethnically divided island in 1974 and consequently helped establish a state in the north that is only recognized by Turkey.
Ever since, the Turkish Cypriot community lives under the heavy embargo of the international community and survives under the auspices of the Turkish government, whereas the internationally recognized Greek Cypriots joined the European Union in 2004.
According to data from the Interior Ministry of Cyprus, four percent of the country’s population consist of immigrants without official residence status.