Refugee Crisis: Bulgaria and Turkey Agree to Agree on Mechanism

Written by on August 14, 2016 in Bulgaria, Politics - No comments

Just after the controversial Büyük case, which, according to the Bulgarian government, had nothing to do with the ongoing refugee crisis, Bulgaria and Turkey have agreed to implement a bilateral mechanism. According to Bulgarian media reports, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov spoke to his Turkish counterpart Yildirim on the phone. The mechanism in question was proposed by the Turkish side, those reports said.

As a neighbouring E.U. state, Bulgaria fears, up to half a million refugees might be coming into the country, in case Turkey cancels its refugee agreement with the E.U., the so-called “E.U. Turkey Deal”. Ankara demands a visa liberalisation from the E.U., for its citizens.

In a television interview, Borissov said, Turkey’s threat to flood Europe with migrants, in reality meant flooding Bulgaria with migrants. He was referring to Bulgaria’s geographical location, as an E.U. neighbour of Turkey.

Before the E.U. Turkey Deal was implemented, refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and other countries, largely avoided Bulgaria. This had to do with the treatment of refugees in the country. In the past twelve months, NGOs and the United Nations have criticized Bulgaria harshly. NGOs reported about physical abuse on the part of the authorities, robberies and more than questionable incarcerations. On Thursday, the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, said, he had big doubts regarding the legality of putting refugees in jail. He also said, the Bulgarian government supported intolerance towards refugees.

Several western media have recently reported about Bulgaria’s perspective in the crisis. In a Breitbart article, it said Bulgaria feared a “new migrant invasion” from Turkey, and was therefore building a massive border wall.

In the meantime, Bulgarian Police have detained 87 refugees who had attempted to cross the Bulgarian-Serbian border. According to the Ministry of the Interior, 41 of them were registered with Bulgaria’s State Agency for Refugees. They received warnings, while 13 others were detained.

By Imanuel Marcus

Symbolic photo: Refugees in Tovarnik, Croatia, taken in September 2015, by Imanuel Marcus.



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