Bulgarian PM: Turkish border secure, Greek border not ready for migrants

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 09.04.2019 00:03

Bulgaria's frontier with Turkey is ready to hold back irregular migrants, but the same cannot be said of its border with Greece, according to Bulgaria's prime minister."Our common border with Turkey is protected well because our reciprocal agreements are being implemented," Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said in a statement yesterday after a meeting with Krasimir Karakachanov, the nation's defense minister, and Mladen Marinov, its interior minister.

"However," he added, "there are problems with our [EU] partner Greece."

A statement released after said the officials discussed measures Bulgaria can take to deal with irregular migrants.

Borisov, as quoted in the statement, said in case of a migration crisis, Bulgaria is ready to send 3,000 reinforcements to the Greek border. Karakachanov, also quoted, said the risk of masses of irregular migrants entering Bulgaria from Turkey or Greece is increasing.

"The Defense Ministry is ready to provide the necessary personnel, and technical and logistical support if needed," he added.

Bulgaria installed a wire fence along its 274-kilometer land border with Turkey to prevent the entrance of irregular migrants.

However, there is no such fence along Turkey's border with Greece.

In recent days, large groups of migrants, drawn by social media misinformation, have drawn near the Bulgarian and Greek borders.

Turkey has been the main destination for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011. Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants flee civil conflict or economic hardship in their home countries with the hope of reaching Europe. Some migrants are able to make the dangerous journey over land or sea with the assistance of smugglers, who often abandon them, especially during sea journeys, after receiving thousands of dollars from each migrant.

Others are stopped by Turkish security forces before crossing the border into Europe. Turkey's seas, particularly the Aegean in the west where Çanakkale is also located, have recently seen a large influx, with more migrants boarding dinghies to reach Europe. They travel in overcrowded and unsafe boats to reach Greek islands scattered across the Aegean region and only a few kilometers from Turkish shores. Deaths are common in these crossings as many migrants, despite paying thousands of dollars to smugglers, are forced to travel in rubber boats crowded far beyond their capacity.

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