Bulgaria-Turkey border jammed after new security checks

Bulgaria-Turkey border jammed after new security checks

Bulgaria-Turkey border jammed after new security checks

Migrants and refugees prepare to enter a registration camp after crossing the Greece-Macedonia border near Gevgelija on November 9, 2015. AFP Photo

Hundreds of trucks and cars were stuck at both sides of the border gate between Bulgaria and Turkey for a second day on Nov. 16, after Bulgaria beefed-up its border security checks following the deadly Paris attacks on Nov. 13. 

Bulgaria’s main southeastern border checkpoint with Turkey for a second day on Nov. 16 was packed due to increased security checks following the attacks in Paris, officials said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Sofia ordered all passports and vehicles crossing into its territory to be checked after Friday’s tragedy, in which at least 129 people were killed in a series of coordinated attacks in the French capital.

The measures led to huge queues at the busy Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint, with truck drivers waiting for hours to exit Bulgaria while police scanned their cargo.

“The queue this morning is about 10 kilometers long despite our efforts to conduct the checks as quickly as possible,” a border police official at the checkpoint told AFP by phone.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency also reported about the queue on the Turkish side of the border, which was five kilometers long due to around 200 trucks being stuck at the line to cross the border. 

Queues were formed at the Kapıkule and Hamzabeyli border gates on the Turkish side of the border with Bulgaria. 

Bulgaria, a member of the EU but not of the passport-free Schengen zone, is a transit point for a growing number of western Europeans seeking to join the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria and Iraq.

Border officials have detained dozens of foreigners attempting to cross through Kapitan Andreevo, including a friend of the Kouachi brothers, who shot dead 12 people in an attack on the Paris offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in January.