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Bulgaria braces for migrant arrivals after Turkey’s failed coup

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov (C) inspects the barbed wire fence constructed on the Bulgarian-Turkish border, near Malko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, May 22, 2016. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria is bracing for a potential rush of migrants on its southern border following an attempted coup in Turkey, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said on Friday.

Patrols on the border with Turkey have been bolstered and 150 to 200 migrants a day have been detained since the failed coup, Borisov said.

“The situation at the border is much more dramatic,” Borisov told local media. “We prepare for a severe problem with the refugees ... The army, police and gendarmerie, they are all working.”

Borisov said he would meet Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Aug. 24 in Istanbul. On Thursday, he met Bulgaria’s top military personnel to discuss the measures the government and security services were taking.

After the meeting, he said events in the coming weeks might require rapid reactions from the military officers, the government and citizens, to guarantee the security of the country.

Borisov said that Sofia should aim to keep the balance and maintain communication with Turkey, but he criticised some of Erdogan’s moves.

“We do not understand the arrests of journalists, judges, teachers,” he said.

Migrant flows into Bulgaria had been easing slightly before the failed coup. The country detained about 14,000 migrants in the first six months of the year, compared with 21,000 in the same period last year.

Few migrants want to stay in the European Union’s poorest state, preferring to journey onwards to wealthier EU countries like Germany and Sweden.

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov, editing by Larry King