“Why Don’t They Come Here?” A Cypriot’s Take on the Refugee Crisis

Had an interesting chat with my B&B host in Larnaca about the refugee crisis and Cyprus’ role, or lack thereof. He said: “Cyprus is only 200km from Beirut. We’re the closest EU country to Syria, and it’s very safe here. If migrants wanted safety, this would be a natural place to come and a fairly easy journey. They could even settle in the Turkish occupied north to avoid religious conflicts with the Greeks. Yet they don’t come. We’ve had almost no asylum seekers. So why not? Because this has never been about safety, for most migrants at least. What they want is jobs, and Cyprus is a small country and there’s no money to be made here, so they don’t want to come here. They target big states like Germany and Britain with large populations and economies, and they want to be able to move freely between countries to pursue work, which they can’t do in Cyprus since we’re far from the rest of Europe. They’re just exploiting the safety concerns to get a free work visa, and the mass media is trying very hard to hide this.”

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