Turkey-Bulgaria transit permit row settled

Photo: Turkey-Bulgaria transit permit row settled / Turkey

A transit permit crisis that closed the borders between Turkey and Bulgaria for almost two weeks was resolved after the latter approved 100,000 permits requested by Turkish truckers, government officials from both countries have announced Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Crossings at the Turkish-Bulgarian border began to return to normal at 9 a.m. on the morning of Feb. 13, Turkish Transportation Minister Lutfi Elvan said.

Speaking to Bulgarian National Radio (BNR), Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Daniela Bobeva said her government agreed to deliver 100,000 permits.

She also said a ministerial level meeting between the parties would be held Feb. 17 in Istanbul.

The custom gates between the two neighbors had been shut for 13 days due to tension that was sparked when Bulgaria only gave 5,000 of the 125,000 transit pass permits it was expected to give Turkish truckers at the beginning of the year.

Turkey then closed its gates to Bulgarian trucks Jan. 31 in retaliation over the permit dispute. Sofia responded to Turkey's move by also banning Turkish trucks from entering Bulgaria Feb. 1.

A truck queue of over 15 kilometers has been waiting at the Kapitan Andreevo-Kapıkule border crossing for days, causing major problems for drivers who have been forced to wait.

Sector representatives have urged a quick solution for the problem, citing risks to Turkey's trade with European countries.

Although Turkish exporters immediately turned to alternative routes to transport goods to Europe, the absence of one of its major and cheapest transit options was expected to create huge losses.

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