Turkey has directly raised the issue of Bulgaria capturing and handing over the critics of its regime, the Bulgarian National Radio announced. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has reportedly asked his Bulgarian counterpart Valentin Radev to check 14 organizations – commercial representations and schools where there are suspicions that Fetullah Gülen’s supporters work, and that they should be surrendered to Turkey. President Recep Erdoğan thinks his old opponent, Gülen, is the organizer of the failed coup d’état from 2016
Radev and Saylu met in the Turkish city of Edirne. The meeting was on border security, and Radev’s comments were mostly praise for the good cooperation by Turkey and the reduced number of migrants passing through to Bulgaria.
Asked if he would meet the request of Soylu, Radev gave a rather confused answer:
“People who find shelter in our country if there is something, if they are for example Gülenists as he says, etc, I told him no directly yes, there are procedures, Bulgaria will do it, as long as it is in accordance with our legislation, but they told us that there are 14 trade representations and schools in Bulgaria”. [The translation may sound weird, but it is as close to the original as possible.]
Past practice suggests that the Bulgarian authorities are willing to disregard both judicial and moral barriers just to please the regime of Erdoğan.
Abdullah Büyük, a Turkish businessman who had sought political asylum in Bulgaria, was discretely extradited to Turkey on 11 August 2016 at the border crossing point Kapiatan Andreevo – Kapıkule. [More] In October 2016 Bulgaria returned
at least six people who allegedly are related to the network of preacher Fetullah Gülen. [More]
The daily Sega writes that in 2016, the Ministry of Interior has handed over 70 people to Turkey. There are no statistics for 2017.
Despite the joy of the Bulgarian authorities that the migratory pressure has declined, the Turkish interior minister attacked the EU, because in his words it supports the Syrian branch of PKK, the Kurdish militants listed by the Union as a terrorist organisation.