Bulgaria Processing Asylum Requests from Alleged G?len Supporters
An unknown number of Turkish nationals have claimed to be facing persecution in their homeland and are applying for asylum, Bulgarian Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova said on Friday.
She told Parliament in a Q&A session that the country was launching asylum procedures on their demand.
Bachvarova sought to fend off claims the country was involved in human rights violations by sending supporters of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah G?len, whom Turkey blames for the failed coup attempt in July.
She reasserted the seven Turkish nationals summarily sent back to Turkey had neither asked for political asylum or status (humanitarian or refugee) with the Bulgaria's refugee agency.
Bachvarova insisted she had scrutinized their testimony in person and had made sure none had asked for protection, adding they had been made familiar with procedures, with a translator assuring communication between them and authorities went smoothly.
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