Bulgaria’s Fence with Turkey can be easily Jumped over with a Ladder

Politics » DEFENSE | November 10, 2022, Thursday // 16:06
Bulgaria: Bulgaria’s Fence with Turkey can be easily Jumped over with a Ladder @Ministry of Defense

The state of Bulgaria’s fence with Turkey changes daily. Every Border Police patrol discovers new holes cut into it. There is also a problem with the height of the facility - the fence is easily overcome with ladders, tree trunks, etc.

This was stated by the acting interior minister and deputy prime minister Ivan Demerdzhiev during his hearing in the parliament regarding the measures taken along the country's border and dealing with the flow of illegal immigrants.

The hearing is at the request of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and is in connection with the case of the policeman Petar Bachvarov, who was killed on the Bulgarian-Turkish border, because of which GERB is demanding that the interior minister resign. Yesterday, surprisingly, BSP joined GERB and also demanded his resignation.

Today, Ivan Demerdzhiev emphasized that the first thing he did after taking office was to visit the border in the Elhovo region. According to him, there is an alarming trend of constant growth of the migrant flow.

He reported that since the beginning of 2022, 143,779 attempts to cross the border have been prevented. In comparison, this figure in 2021 is about 40,000. According to him, the current state of the Bulgarian border is much better than what he found it in.

"With all this pressure, I can say that our border police are doing very well. Unfortunately, our police officers guard the border with their bodies, because it is not sufficiently technically secured," said Demerdzhiev and summarized the main problems in guarding our border with Turkey.

- The composition of the border police over the last 10 years has decreased by 1,300 people. Because of this, other structures have to guard the border, for example the military. Demerdzhiev explained that this is a problem because they are trained in a different way and pointed out that for this reason the leadership of the Ministry of the Interior has proposed an increase in the number of staff by 1,260 people;

- Lack of cars to serve the Bulgarian-Turkish border, as well as the presence of many unsuitable official cars. The Minister of the Interior clarified that public tenders for the purchase of new cars have been launched;

- Bad condition of the roads serving the border area - 30 km in total. Demerdzhiev said that because of this, there are constant accidents. He pointed out that the Ministry of the Interior has undertaken a radical repair of these roads, declaring a partial state of emergency for this purpose;

- Lack of sufficient technical support. The Minister of the Interior explained that out of a total of 250 kilometers of fence, only 154 kilometers of it have additional technological support (lighting, etc.).

According to Demerdzhiev, the area of ​​Malko Tarnovo is the most difficult to guard because it is cut off and not technically secured. However, there is partial surveillance along the border with drones that monitor not only the migrants but also the actions of the police. The Ministry of the Interior has also provided helicopters to the border guards, Demerdzhiev said.

He stated that multiple checkpoints were built after the 30-kilometer stretch to improve migration control after the border zone in Bulgaria. The Ministry of the Interior plans to deploy groups of locals along the entire border, for example 40 people in Bolyarovo, who know the area and can react quickly without having to travel long distances.

GERB MP Hristo Gadjev asked how, after more than BGN 7 million were allocated for the repair of the fence during the administration of former Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov (WCC), the current condition of the fence is bad and "his successors are dissatisfied".

"Measures will be taken to equip our employees with a long weapon and train them how to use it. To teach them how to resist such freak attacks. I'm sorry, but there is no softer word," said Ivan Demerdzhiev.

Demerdzhiev pointed out that the European Border and Coast Guard Agency "Frontex" is working harder with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and that the number of their employees on the Bulgarian border has been increased. The Ministry of the Interior interacts with Europol to exchange information and to transfer experience to personnel of the Ministry. The interior minister announced that Bulgaria and Turkey will create a permanent working group to monitor the protection of the border.

"I spoke with the parents of the murdered policeman, if they had asked me to resign - I would have done it," announced the interior minister and added through tears that Petar Bachvarov wanted to be buried in a parade uniform.

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