Flow of migrants from Turkey into Bulgaria on the rise

Bulgarian border guard patrol car. Photo: Bin im Garten, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Bulgarian Ministry of Internal affairs announced on Sunday, August 7, that the number of illegal migrants attempting to cross the Bulgarian-Turkish border has increased six-fold compared to the previous year. In July, the number of migrants rose by 24 percent compared to June.

The Ministry ensured that the forces deployed to the border are sufficient to maintain its security: in addition to border guards and the military, 860 police officers have been additionally sent there. The ministry also said that the barbed wire fence on the border is in good condition and successfully impedes the illegal move of migrants across the border.

Government sources say that 60,000 attempts to illegally cross the Bulgarian-Turkish border have been recorded in the first seven months of 2022, most of which were successfully hampered.

6,633 individuals have been detained in the first six months of 2022 on the border or close to the border zone, of which 4,987 were citizens of Afghanistan and Syria. 20 percent of those detained have been accommodated in refugee camps. According to the Ministry of Interior, most of them find one way or another to continue their trek to western Europe.

The data do not include refugees from Ukraine, which are not legally considered illegal immigrants. Bulgaria has accepted some 86,000 Ukrainian war refugees, including 39,000 children, the rest being mostly women.

Ukrainian refugees are offered help finding employment, and the children are integrated into the Bulgarian educational system.