Bulgaria Should Support Turkey's Demand for EU Visa Waiver - Ambassador
The EU-Turkey deal on the migrant crisis will fall through in case of destabilization in Turkey, Bulgaria's Ambassador to the country, H.E. Nadezhda Neynski, has warned.
In her first comment for the media since the failed coup attempt in Turkey last month, Neynski has made clear that any negative development, "be it a successful military coup or a spiral of repressions and violence," would change its status of "a third safe country".
It is the status of a third safe country that allows EU member states to send back migrants to Turkey, Neynski has pointed out.
In light of Ankara's suggestions that it might stop abiding by the migrant deal in case of not being granted visa liberalization in the autumn, Neynski has told NOVA TV station that dialogue with the country should be maintained.
However, "the EU cannot remain impassive or silent if human rights are violated, if people who were involved in the coup attempt are not given a fair trial," she has noted.
Brussels and Ankara were caught in a dispute dating to the time before the coup over Turkey's anti-terror legislation, which the EU Commission insists should be revoked if Turkish nationals are to be given a short-term visa waiver.
On the role of Bulgaria, she has made emphasis on the fact that tens of thousands of Bulgarian citizens live in Turkey.
While Bulgaria should be a "positive voice in support" of Turkey's demand, the country should also insist that all the 72 criteria be fulfilled in return for a visa-free regime, Neynski has noted.
Neynski has been subject to criticism for keeping silent for days following the coup attempt.
In her interview with NOVA, however, she has reiterated that she was holding on to an administrative order banning comments without the consent of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
She has added the ban was confirmed to her personally in her conversation with Daniel Mitov, Bulgaria's Foreign Minister.
Neynski has noted that, while "political assessments in such a complex situation like the one in Turkey always carry a risk," providing information on the developments on the ground is "quite another thing", and any state should seek to adequately meet its citizens' need for information.
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