Turkey’s land trade to Europe in danger
SOFIA - Hürriyet Daily NewsIf no solution is reached on the problems with truck passage between Bulgaria and Turkey through diplomatic means the Bulgarian side will start to take reciprocal measures, Bulgarian Transportation Minister Kristian Krastev has said.
Bulgarian truck drivers blocked the EU country’s two major border checkpoints with Turkey on May 16 for 36 hours for a second time in a week to protest lengthy customs procedures on the Turkish side. A 25-kilometer queue of trucks built up at the main Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint on the Bulgarian side.
Speaking to Bulgaria National Radio (BNR) yesterday, Krastev said he would hold talks with Turkey’s Trade and Customs Minister Hayati Yazıcı on May 22 and 23 on signing bilateral deals on freight transportation and would seek a solution.
Protection of local carriers
There were also thought to be lengthy build-ups on the Turkish side of the border, a major crossing point for goods from the Middle East headed to Central Europe and for EU goods going into non-EU Turkey and beyond.
The International Transportation Association (UND) said the Bulgarian truckers’ boycott had been halted until May 31, awaiting the results of the negotiations.
The truckers have said Turkish customs authorities were subjecting them to lengthy checks and additional requirements in an attempt to eliminate them from the market.
“This is not a good European implementation,” Krastev also said yesterday, condemning Turkish regulations.
However, Yazıcı said Turkey’s transportation regulations were compliant with international and European Union standards.
Turkish customs authorities have said construction at the Kapitan Andreevo border gate, which is slated to be completed by the end of the year, was causing a reduction in capacity, prompting long queues in both directions.
“Turkey has been introducing a series of measures to control the rising share of foreign carriers in transportation through Turkey,” the UND said in a statement. The association, which represents Turkish freight transporters, also called Bulgarian truckers to be respectful to Turkey’s attempts to create “equal competition conditions.”
The share of foreign carriers among all export carriers through the Kapitan Andreevo and Lesovo border gates rose to 43 percent last year from 42 percent in 2011, an increase of over 160,000.
The share of foreign carriers transporting export goods through all Turkish border gates also increased last year from 18 percent to 19 percent.