Refugee Crisis: Bulgaria denies knowledge about crackdown on human smuggling ring

Written by on January 16, 2017 in Bulgaria - No comments

Turkish police have uncovered a huge human smuggling ring which operated in several European countries, including Bulgaria. In the Turkish press it says, the ring facilitated illegal border crossings for Turks as well as refugees. According to an article by the publication Hürriyet, “foreign migrants” and criminals were sent to Western Europe by the human trafficking gang.

The Turkish police were first informed about the ring in April 2016. After the attempted coup on July 15th, 2016, they suspected the gang of smuggling Gülenists as well, whom were made responsible by the leadership in Ankara. Members of the PKK, which is forbidden in Turkey, were supposedly smuggled to Western Europe as well.

It says, migrants were sent to Istanbul first. From there, they were brought to Kosovo and Albania, where Turkish citizens do not need any visa. Via Montenegro, Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia, paying customers were then sent to Western countries.

Refugees and other individuals, who paid 3,000 to 5,000 Euro each, were also smuggled into Bulgaria. They are said to have walked trails into southern Bulgaria with guides, before they were handed over to Bulgarian members of the people smuggling gang.

Turkish police contacted their colleagues in several countries, including Bulgaria, it said in those Turkish reports, with the intent of launching a concerted, international operation.

But in Sofia, the Bulgarian Minister of the Interior, Rumyana Bachvarova, said on Sunday, she was not aware of any operation of the kind described in Hürriyet. The outgoing minister suggested, any operation might have been conducted with the involvement of Interpol.

In Bulgaria, many alleged human traffickers have been arrested, since the refugee crisis began. In some cases, the smugglers were cooperating with corrupt police officers.

By F&F Magazine staff

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