The situation in Turkey remains unstable, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said on July 20, urging the country’s citizens not to travel to the neighbouring state.
The Foreign Ministry in Sofia said that throughout Turkey, a series of operations were being conducted by Turkish security forces, as a result of which escalation of tension could be expected and threats to the physical security of citizens.
At the same time in many places, mass public events such as rallies and protest marches were being organised, the ministry said.
The level of risk remained high and clashes in some places were possible, according to the statement, issued in the wake of the July 15 attempted coup in Turkey.
Given the deteriorating security environment, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said that it strongly recommends that Bulgarian citizens in Turkey avoid visiting crowded places in big cities.
In Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, people should avoid public places with a “key social role” such as Taksim Square and Istiklal Boulevard, the square in the front of the Dolmabahçe Palace, tourist sites in the district of Fatih, metro stations and bus stations in the central parts of Istanbul – the regions of Fatih, Beyoğlu, Şişli, Beşiktaş, large retail outlets, among others.
It was also recommended to avoid large infrastructure projects, which were at the centre of events on July 15, including Ataturk Airport.
The Foreign Ministry said that in Turkey’s city of Edirne, there were strict checks of people and vehicles at the entrances to and exits from the city and in the city itself, with requirements to show personal documents of the driver and the vehicle documents. Delays in the movement of traffic were possible.
Entrances and exits at the checkpoints on the Bulgarian – Turkish border were open and working normally, but the Kapitan Andreevo – Kapikule checkpoint was busy, given that it was the time customary for Turkish citizens living in Western Europe to head to their country.
On the Turkish side, border controls had been strengthened and there was detailed inspection of personal documents.
The Foreign Ministry said that it “strongly recommends” that Bulgarians refrain from travelling to Turkey. If doing so was a matter of extreme necessity, they should keep up with current events and register their details on the Foreign Ministry website.
Bulgarian citizens could approach the country’s diplomatic and consular missions in Turkey, if necessary, the ministry said.