Wednesday

8th Feb 2023

Bulgaria sends soldiers to Turkey border

  • The European Commission says external border control is the competences of the national governments. (Photo: 7armyjmtc)

Bulgaria is preparing to send up to 1,000 soldiers to beef up security on its 259-kilometre land border with Turkey, the government said Thursday (17 September).

“Today we shall probably send more than 50 additional troops. We are ready to increase them to 160 within the day,” defence minister Nikolai Nenchev told press.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“The total number of military the ministry is ready to help border police with is 1,000”.

The announcement follows reports that columns of Syrian migrants are walking from Istanbul to Edirne, on the western side of the Bosphorus, where Turkey borders Bulgaria.

Georgi Kostov, a senior Bulgarian interior ministry official, said about 700 people tried to cross from Turkey to Bulgaria in the past 24 hours.

Border police arrested 34 of them and the rest went back. Police arrested another 39 people trying to cross from Bulgaria to Serbia en route to western Europe.

“Our steps should be interpreted only as a move to support our Turkish colleagues in their efforts [to enforce border rules]”, Kostov added.

“We have the forces to tackle the migration pressure. And the fact that Bulgaria isn’t the preferred route of the migrants, even though it’s a natural route, speaks volumes about our actions”.

Bulgaria earlier increased border police forces and built a 30-kilometre razor-wire fence on its boundary with Turkey.

It took the action after seeing a 470-percent rise in irregular crossings between mid-2012 and 2014.

The border clampdown prompted refugees, many of whom come from camps in Turkey, to switch their main route to Greece, the Western Balkans, and central Europe.

Turkey currently hosts some 2 million Syrian refugees.

Bulgaria hosts 15,000 refugees, mainly from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It is the EU’s poorest member state and has a population of 7.2 million, 10 percent of whom are Muslim.

Thursday’s announcement on sending military units to the border comes after similar measures by Austria, Croatia, and Hungary.

The European Commission has declined to comment on the action, saying the measures fall under national competence.

EU hands Libya coast guard boats ahead of migration summit

The EU commission gave the Libyan Coast Guard the first of five new EU-funded patrol boats to help prevent migrants and asylum seekers from fleeing to Europe. The handover comes days ahead of an EU summit on migration.

EU Commission wants drones for Bulgaria on Turkey border

The European Commission wants to shore up the land border between Bulgaria and Turkey with drones. "We can strengthen the border with management capabilities," European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told MEPs.

Latest News

  1. Polish MEP also went on freelance Azerbaijan trip
  2. Why Europe's interminable compromises are a virtue
  3. Wales' message to Europe: 'We'll be back'
  4. MEPs to vote on risky 'hydrogen for home heating' rule
  5. The man who won't stop filing info requests until every EU doc is public
  6. EU hands Libya coast guard boats ahead of migration summit
  7. Eleven suicides daily — Spain's not-so-silent pandemic
  8. The return of Lula means now is the time for EU-Mercosur deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWWEU Social Dialogue review – publication of the European Commission package and joint statement of ETUFs
  2. Oxfam InternationalPan Africa Program Progress Report 2022 - Post Covid and Beyond
  3. WWFWWF Living Planet Report
  4. EFBWWEFBWW Executive Committee report on major abuses, labour crime and subcontracting
  5. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  6. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us