After the Berlin Terror Attacks: How Safe is Bulgaria?

Written by on December 20, 2016 in Bulgaria, Latest - No comments

The Department of State in Washington D.C., a leading authority when it comes to security warnings, considers Bulgaria a relatively safe country. They are warning U.S. citizens of pick pockets, purse snatchers, ATM fraud, car theft and burglary. Also they are saying travelers have been charged exorbitant prices for drinks in “night clubs”. On top of that, the Americans are accurately saying taxi drivers were known to overcharge unwary travelers.

In addition, the U.S. government is warning travelers of violent racists in Bulgaria. “Incidents of racism, ethnic slurs and harassment of African Americans have occurred”, it says.

As bad as all of the above may be, it says relatively little about security in this country. But, the State Department also has a Travel Alert in place, for all of Europe: “Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe”, it reads.

In a way, the Americans even predicted the latest terror attack in Berlin, during which 12 people were killed at a Christmas market. It says “U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when attending large holiday events” in Europe. The risk of terrorist attacks is heightened during the holiday season. It was foreseeable. But nobody could tell where exactly is was going to happen.

So, is Bulgaria safe? Not entirely, but neither is every other country on this continent. Sure, before Bulgaria joined the E.U. in 2007, there were more mafia shootings in the streets of Sofia. Once in a while, car bombs exploded. Since then, it seems, those circles are keeping more of a low profile.

The first real terror attack on Bulgarian soil happened on July 18th, 2012, when Hezbollah terrorists murdered five Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian bus driver at Burgas Airport. That act of terror was another indicator which showed us Bulgaria is vulnerable too. Radical Islam (yes, Radical Islam, but definitely not all of Islam) is spreading its disgusting hatred and violence even down here. So, assuming Bulgaria was not important, maybe because of its rather small size, is a mistake.

There are some more reasons why all of us, Bulgarians and expats alike, should be careful: In recent media reports, it said terror organizations purchase forged passports in Bulgaria a lot. Also, this country’s geographic location makes it an entry point to many, including terrorists.  

The corruption at the Bulgarian Border Police puts us in additional danger. In 2016 alone, more than 50 Bulgarian border police officers were arrested due to corruption charges. What this means is that anyone can enter the country, as long as they have deep pockets.

According to the Bulgarian government, there are no specific threats of terrorist attacks right now.

But, considering everything we know, we have to conclude that Bulgaria is not safer than other European countries. Vigilance and caution should be exercised. 

By Imanuel Marcus

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