Turkey Offers Bulgaria Bilateral Mechanism on Migration

Politics » DIPLOMACY | August 13, 2016, Saturday // 11:00
Bulgaria: Turkey Offers Bulgaria Bilateral Mechanism on Migration File photo, BGNES

Turkey and Bulgaria have agreed to set up a bilateral mechanism to address the issue of migrants, the Bulgarian National Radio says.

A phone conversation has been held between Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m and Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov, at the initiative of the Turkish side, the according to the public broadcaster's Istanbul correspondent.

It was Y?ld?r?m who proposed that the mechanism be set up to control the influx into Bulgaria.

The Turkish Prime Minister's press office reports that the move does not suggest any cancellation of the EU-Turkey deal on the migrant crisis reached in March, which Ankara has threatened to suspend if Europe does not grant visa liberalization as stipulated in the agreement.

Bulgarian officials have confirmed a conversation took place.

Borisov on Friday voiced his concern about a possible surge in migratory pressure on the country many European countries are tightening border controls.

"We are facing an enormous crisis between Turkey and the European Union, a crisis in which our leaders are the harshest possible threats. The whole Europe is surrounded with fences at the moment. What does the threat of "We will flood Europe with refugees" mean? This means: "We will flood Bulgaria," Borisov told private NOVA TV station.

He said his "big goal" was "to make sure Turkey will treat Bulgaria differently than other countries in Europe, since if Turkey becomes an unsafe state, Bulgaria remains the closest safe state along the migrant route and 400 or 500 000 will be returned to Bulgaria as the safest country. These decisions are made by a nod."

Bulgaria earlier this week handed over Abdullah B?y?k, an alleged supporter of US-based cleric Fethullah G?len accused by Ankara of being behind a military coup attempt, to Turkish authorities. The move was made despite a court ruling that B?y?k shold not be extradited.

Borisov denied a link between the expulsion case and the migratory pressure on Bulgaria's borders, but made clear Bulgaria was read to make sacrifices to keep good relations with Turkey under the present circumstances.

BNR quotes Turkey's Prime Minister as assuring Borisov over the phone that that "members of the organization of G?len FETO [the acronym used by Turkey to refer to G?len's movement] expelled from Bulgaria will be sought by the Turkish state under the principles of law and justice."

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Tags: Bulgaria, turkey, Boyko Borisov, Binali Yildirim, Migration, Abdullah B?y?k, extradition, Fethullah Gulen

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