IS Poses Threat to Bulgaria due to Proximity of Turkey - DefMin
There is categorically a threat to Bulgaria stemming from the offensive of Islamic State, though not a direct one, caretaker Defense Minister Velizar Shalamanov said.
He told public broadcaster BNT that the danger was mostly caused by the proximity of Bulgaria to the Turkish-Syria border, where recent IS attacks unfolded, but stressed it was not military in essence.
Commenting on steps taken by his ministry toward the army's modernization since he took over the institution, he reiterated a total of nine projects were in preparation to that end.
Though not directly responding to the question whether it is precisely eight new fighters Bulgaria will seek to buy, Shalamanov explained the country also needs warships and a new cyber-security system apart from upgrading its aircraft fleet.
Shalamanov spoke in favor of balanced development of armed forces' capabilities, describing the current ones as "utterly inefficient" and dating from the Warsaw-Pact era.
Asked why he had undertaken such large-scale projects despite being an interim Defense Minister, he retorted that the national program he and his institution were preparing would carry obligations for the next minister.
Shalamanov also made a few remarks about the explosion in a factory in Bulgaria's north-west which left fifteen people dead.
He said one should not completely rule out the hypothesis raised by the Midzhur plant's owner, Valeri Mitkov, that the incident was caused by sabotage.
Stressing it was up to experts to make their judgment, he said premeditation was not completely impossible, since July 2012's incident at the Sarafovo airport (when a suicide bomber detonated himself killing Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver) proved there was a security breach, and a sabotage would constitute another "serious breach" if found out.
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