More than 100 refugees pulled back from the Turkish-Bulgarian Border

Today on the the 24th of May 2023, more than 100 members of the religious minority, the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light, gathered at the Turkish-Bulgarian border. The group, including women, children and old people, asked there to cross the border to apply for asylum on the Bulgarian side. Turkish authorities did not led them pass and brutally pulled them back with batons, also gun shots were fired.

The Kapikule border crossing was closed for two hours, the group was arrested and their belongings were taken away. The arrested people are currently in danger of deportation. The Sofia Globe wrote that the arrested members of the group were from the United Kingdom, Thailand, Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Jordan and Turkey. Several people got injured during the incident, as one could e.g. see in a video, which was published by Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light.

In a letter, which was signed by Bulgarian and other international humanitarian organizations, and sent to FRONTEX as well as the Bulgarian Border police one day before, the situation of the group and the planned border crossing attempt was described and announced. In the letter the group mentioned, that even before it wrote to “UNHCR in Bulgaria, the State Agency for Refugees (SAR), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs „to request a visa on humanitarian grounds“. However, the Bulgarian Border Police or other Bulgarian authorities were not seen at the whole scenery on the Turkish side of the Turkish-Bulgarian border today.

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