Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey agreed on Monday to set up a common border police and customs centre to combat a surge in illegal migration.
“This agreement guarantees closer cooperation of the three countries that face one and the same challenges… migration, organised crime and terrorism,” Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova said after a signing ceremony in Sofia.
The centre will be set up at the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint between Bulgaria and Turkey, which also borders Greece, she added.
Turkey’s Interior Minister Sebahattin Ozturk explained that the center will allow “police and customs authorities to exchange information in real time and react to stop illegal migration and smuggling.”
Turkey currently shelters about two million refugees, mostly from its neighboring conflict-torn Syria.
Thousands of them illegally attempt to cross Turkey’s borders with Bulgaria and Greece and seek refuge in the European Union, which has prompted both Sofia and Ankara to build protective fences to stop the flow.
The three countries have long discussed setting up joint police teams to patrol the border. [AFP]