Bulgarian President Rumen Radev told reporters before attending the swearing-in ceremony of Turkey’s re-elected President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM). If the projects initiated by the interim government after my important meeting with him last year are implemented, this will increase the role of the two countries in achieving more security, stability and prosperity in our region.
Noting that cooperation between Bulgaria and Turkey is of fundamental importance for the future of Europe, the President added that our southern neighbor Bulgaria is the largest trading and economic partner outside the European Union (EU), and the country’s role in the complex geopolitical era. The situation has clearly increased. Radev indicated that they had established relations of trust and friendship with his Turkish counterpart, recalling the tangible progress achieved in important areas in bilateral relations after his visit to Istanbul in October last year.
After meeting with President Erdogan at the time, Bulgaria signed an agreement providing access to all liquefied gas terminals in Turkey and the country’s gas transmission network for 13 years with an annual gas reserve of 1.5 billion cubic meters. He added that the agreement reached provides stable guarantees for securing gas supplies, diversifying it and making it affordable for all. “This agreement positions Bulgaria as an important factor in the energy security of Central and Eastern European countries,” the president added.
“Considering the fundamental changes in global supply chains, the increase in traffic between our two countries and our conscious responsibility towards our European partners, President Erdogan and I have committed and outlined joint measures to significantly improve transport links between our two countries,” Radev said. The President noted that the projects related to the expanded part of the Kapitan Andrevo border gate, which will enter service soon, the optimal utilization of the only railway line between Bulgaria and Turkey, and the signing of a memorandum for the construction of a second railway between Ilovo, Lesovo, Hamzabeli and Edirne, with the support of the European Union, have begun. “A section of the highway is already planned to be built between the Lesovo highway and the Maritsa highway so that we can divide the very high levels of traffic flow for trucks and trains, and a pedestrian bridge near Rezovo is also planned,” Radev said.
The president said: “The realization of all these projects gives a powerful impetus to trade and economic development and provides new opportunities for our entire region. I very much hope that the new organized government will take advantage of the achievements and finish what has been started, ”emphasizing that these projects are important not only for Bulgaria, but also for Europe. “If we want Bulgaria to develop at a faster economic pace and strengthen its role in our region and in Europe, we need to significantly improve our connectivity that has been left behind over the years,” Radev stressed.
The President noted that after Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the only land transportation route ran through Turkey and Bulgaria, and its volume increased exponentially. Adding that Bulgaria needs to improve its connectivity to meet the increased traffic, Radev added, “We should definitely take advantage of this in order to grow our economies and businesses and help our European partners and allies.”
In response to a question about combating illegal immigration, the President said that Turkey is seriously committed to contributing to the protection of our common European borders and that the statistics of the past months show the results of enhancing security. “In President Erdogan’s new term, I expect Turkey to work even harder to help us all protect the EU’s external borders,” Radev said.
The President said that he invites European leaders to join the joint task force to combat illegal immigration and human trafficking, with the support of Europol, which was launched at the initiative of Bulgaria. Radev pointed out that the centers that finance and organize the migrant smuggling network are located in various European countries, and there is a need for rapid exchange of information for countermeasures and coordinated operations at the EU level. “We will succeed when we track down and stop the flows of money and thus impede the financing of this network,” the president noted.
In response to a question whether he defines the government as technocratic or political according to the ministerial list submitted to form a normal government, the president indicated that there is no technocratic cabinet and the political responsibility will be for the political parties behind this government. “It will soon become clear which party has the dominance in the relevant ministries,” Radev said.
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