| 27 May 2024, Monday |

Bulgaria sends soldiers to tackle migrant influx from Turkey

Bulgaria deployed 350 soldiers to the Turkish border on Monday to assist police in dealing with the growing influx of migrants, the defense minister announced.

“Soldiers have been arriving at the Bulgarian-Turkish border since today to support border police,” Georgi Panayotov, a private bTV channel, said.

He added that the 350 troops were accompanied by 40 pieces of equipment.

According to the interior ministry, more than 6,500 people have crossed illegally into Bulgaria this year, which is three times the number for the first nine months of 2020.

The country in eastern Europe is located on one of the main routes used by migrants to enter the EU from the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Bulgaria serves as the European Union’s external border. The 259-kilometer (161-mile) border with Turkey is guarded by a partially damaged barbed-wire fence.

In August, parliament agreed to send 400-700 soldiers to the borders with Greece and Turkey, primarily to assist in the construction of fencing.

Bulgaria is the poorest EU member state and has never accepted a large number of asylum seekers, the majority of whom attempt to travel through the EU while waiting for a response from Sofia on their refugee status.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15, EU countries have been concerned about an influx of Afghans, with memories of the 2015 migrant crisis still fresh.

  • AFP