Bulgaria PM worried by EU-Turkey relations

AFP , Friday 12 Aug 2016

Bulgaria's premier called Friday on the EU to stick by Turkey despite tensions since July's coup, worrying his country will be swamped by migrants if a deal with Ankara breaks down.

"It is important for me to safeguard our relations (with Turkey) so that we don't see a wave of refugees. This is of vital importance," Boyko Borisov told Nova television.

"I trust that my European colleagues are conscious that Bulgaria and Greece risk being confronted by an enormous problem," he said, referring to Turkey's neighbours.

The EU needs to stay on good terms with Turkey to keep intact an accord from March under which Turkey has stemmed the flow of migrants towards Europe.

But Turkey-EU relations have soured since the July 15 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with European countries concerned by Ankara's subsequent crackdown.

Turkey has angrily rejected EU criticism that the purges might violate rights norms Ankara must meet under the agreement in return for visa-free travel and accelerated negotiations for bloc membership.

If the refugees agreement falls apart, then "the migrants will remain in Greece and Bulgaria (because western European countries)... have all closed their borders," Borisov said.

"We are very vulnerable. Europe has shut its borders. It's Bulgaria that will be inundated," he said.

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