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back to index backEUROtalk April,  2007


Turkey's EU commercial ground access threatened

There are fears and speculations among Turkey's international transporters that EU logistics companies are using Bulgaria as the frontman in an attempt to cut Turkey out of the picture.

Bulgaria cancelled a transportation agreement with Turkey on March 1, 2007, implying a major shift in Bulgaria's approach to its transportation of goods. The original agreement, signed in 1979, had unilaterally allowed for unlimited transportation of goods to third countries by transiting through each other's territories. The news was not welcomed by Turkey's transportation sector.

Speculating that Bulgaria is acting as an instrument to European transporters in Germany and other EU countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark, Çetin Nuhoğlu, the president of the International Transporters Association (UND), said: Germany and the EU are applying indirect pressure on Turkey trying to snatch its high tech logistics sectors share in the global market. Bulgaria is a mere instrument in their hands. The real purpose is to enter Turkey and play a role in Turkish and Middle Eastern trade.”

Bulgaria, which became an EU member on Jan. 1, 2007, has been a major route for Turkey and a critical link for goods transportation between Turkey and EU countries. "We were transporting goods worth of 30 billion euros to Europe every year, with 170,000 trips through Bulgaria. But now Bulgaria is trying to block our [Turkey's] access route to Europe," Nuhoğlu said.

Nuhoğlu fears that the EU countries, though Bulgaria, is trying to stop Turkey from emerging in Western countries while also trying to stall the country's free trade. Therefore, the sector is facing some "serious problems." 

At a meeting in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia last January, State Minister Kürşad Tüzmen requested the agreement to stay in effect, said Nuhoğlu. Bulgaria preferred to impose conditions instead, he added.

"They demanded the empty Bulgarian TIR trucks to enter Turkey freely, load goods from Turkey and transport them to Europe," said Nuhoğlu, adding that such a practice is against logic.

On the other hand, Nuhoglu noted that European logistics firms wanted Romania and Ukraine to get involved in the transportation process as soon as possible and had relayed their demands regarding the issue to the Turkish Foreign Affairs and Transportation ministries. 

Source: Turkish Daily News - GAI


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