site.btaBulgaria, Turkiye Launch Joint Project to Improve Border Security
Since its start in 2003, the Interreg-IPA CBC Bulgaria-Turkey programme has provided considerable funding for Edirne and Kirklareli, the two Turkish provinces which border Bulgaria, Turkish Consul General in Burgas Tolga Orkun said on Tuesday. He said 140 projects under the cross-border cooperation programme have been implemented in Edirne Province alone, to the total amount of EUR 26 million. Another 149 projects worth EUR 33.2 million in total have been carried out in Kirklareli Province.
Orkun attended the official ceremony for awarding the first contract under the new programme, Interreg VI-A IPA Bulgaria-Turkiye 2021-2027.
The project is aimed to enhance the capacity and improve the cooperation between the law enforcement authorities in the Bulgarian border regions of Burgas, Haskovo and Yambol and the Turkish provinces of Edirne and Kirklareli in the field of migration control. The Programme Director for Bulgaria, Milen Obretenov, presented copies of the contract to the partner organizations, the law enforcement authorities on both sides of the border.
Bulgaria's Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, Angelina Boneva, said the project has strategic importance for the two countries and the European Union. Boneva said: "At the height of global insecurity amid multiple crises, we are investing in an upgrade of existing infrastructure in our two countries. While drafting the programme, we chose to finance the most important and urgent activities." She noted that EU support will consist not only in investing in equipment but also in joint activities.
The project stipulates the purchase of up-to-date equipment for services engaged in the fight against illegal migration, the conduct of joint training, demonstration events and working visits to exchange experience between the interior ministries in Sofia and Ankara.
Orkun said the new cross-border cooperation programme has new priorities such as a greener, low-carbon Europe, a Europe closer to citizens, and a safer and more secure Europe.
The meeting was also attended by Kirklareli Deputy Governor Yusuf Guler, members of the municipal administration of Edirne, and Burgas Governor Plamen Yanev.