Bulgaria has deported nearly 100 immigrants at its border with Turkey as the poorest country of the European Union grapples with a sharp rise in the number of refugees from non-EU states.
Speaking on Bulgarian National Radio on Sunday, the secretary general of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry Svetlozar Lazarov said the group of immigrants was stopped in the Strandzha mountains, where 1,200 police officers have been deployed since November 8.
“We inhibited entrance of 77 people to Bulgaria, also observing 9 other people. Nine people were detained by Turkey through Bulgaria’s informing. We are waiting for Turkey to pick up 40 illegal immigrants right now,” Lazarov said.
He also pledged to speed up expulsions of migrants and prevent all illegal immigration on Bulgaria’s borders.
With an influx of some 8,800 people, mostly Syrians, so far in 2013, Bulgarian authorities have had to cope with refugee issues such as accommodation.
Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev has said that the number of refugees to Bulgaria is well above the country’s annual capacity of 5,000, and that the problem should be tackled as soon as possible.
A recent poll by Alpha Research has found that Bulgaria’s refugee crisis is also fanning nationalist tensions in the country.
A new nationalist party, which was founded by right-wing groups earlier this week, said it aims to “clean up the country of this scum, these immigrants.”
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