Bulgaria Foreign Ministry in talks with Turkish ambassador after border policeman shot dead

Bulgaria’s deputy foreign minister Kostadin Kodzhabashev held talks on November 8 with Turkish ambassador Aylin Sekizkök at the Foreign Ministry in Sofia following the fatal shooting near the Turkish border of Bulgarian border policeman Junior Inspector Petar Buchvarov, the ministry said in a statement.

Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said on November 8 that according to initial information, Buchvarov and a Defence Ministry employee were on patrol near the village of Golyam Dervent in Elhovo municipality when Buchvarov was killed by a shot fired from Turkish territory.

The Defence Ministry employee exchanged fire with the group, which retreated further into Turkish territory, the Interior Ministry said.

Bulgarian media reports said that the shots were suspected to have been fired by human traffickers.

The Foreign Ministry said that Kodzhabashev had told Sekizkök that Bulgaria expected Turkey’s full cooperation in clarifying the circumstances of the incident.

He called on the Turkish authorities to fulfill their duties in protecting the security of the border between the two countries. Kodzhabashev proposed the creation of a joint commission to clarify the circumstances surrounding the tragic incident.

The Foreign Ministry said that Sekizkök expressed her condolences and confirmed the readiness of the authorities in Turkey to cooperate with the Bulgarian institutions, assuring that all necessary measures had already been taken to find the perpetrators of the crime, as well as to strengthen the security of the common border.

The Interior Ministry quoted caretaker minister Ivan Demerdzhiev as saying that the weaponry of the border police “who have clear and unequivocal instructions to use weapons in any case where this is necessary”, would be “increased and improved”.

“Until now, our aim has been for officers to carry out their duties without causing harm to people trying to cross the border. In this case, however, we are talking about a criminal act, about extreme aggression, for the first time in a way that our police officers have not faced for years,” Demerdzhiev said.

He said that he would speak to his Turkish counterpart and insist that Turkey take an active approach to neutralising people-trafficking networks.

“Until this happens, our employees will be putting their lives at risk every day. I will not allow this,” Demerdzhiev said.

(Photo: Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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