Protest blockade at Bulgarian-Turkish border lifted on third day

The blockade at Turkish-Bulgarian border checkpoints by Turkish lorry drivers protesting at Bulgarian vehicle inspections was lifted on its third day on October 10, after causing lengthy queues.

At the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint, the queue of trucks on the Bulgarian side had reached 40km long and 15km at the Lessovo border checkpoint.

Turkish carriers parked their lorries at the barriers at the border posts.

The protest was against checks of trucks crossing into Bulgaria by the state automobile administration. Turkish lorry drivers have been alleging that the checks are directed against them personally and that Bulgarian authorities are imposing hefty fines without justification.

Bulgarian carriers and transport organisations are adamant that the protest is unfounded because the automobile administration checks are part of an EU-wide action. After the blockade was lifted, it emerged that the checks would continue.

According to public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television, movement of passenger cars and buses across the border was proceeding normally. Police presence at the Bulgarian-Turkish border has been stepped up.

Previously, there have been tensions when Bulgarian hauliers alleged that Turkey was unreasonably penalising Bulgarian truck drivers.

Bulgarian Transport Minister Daniel Papazov said at the time that if Turkey failed to comply with international agreements, Bulgaria would take reciprocal action.

The current checks are part of an EU-wide road police action launched on October 7.

(The Lesovo checkpoint at the Bulgarian-Turkish border. Photo: Anton Lefterov)



The Sofia Globe staff

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