Talks are also underway on a NATO forward presence related to the use of Bulgarian air bases for naval patrol flights.
The top military officials of Bulgaria and Turkey discussed NATO’s role in protecting the Eastern Flank, the naval center in Varna and the possibilities of using Bulgarian military airports for naval patrol flights.
“Bulgaria has always been among the countries insisting on an increased presence of the Alliance, which will guarantee the deterrence of hostilities and the defense of the region. As our NATO ally and Bulgaria’s immediate neighbor, Turkey plays an important role in tackling today’s security challenges. ” This was stated by the Chief of Defense Admiral Emil Eftimov during a bilateral meeting with the Chief of the General Staff of the Republic of Turkey, Army General Yasar Guler, quoted by the Ministry of Defense.
The meeting between the two commanders took place on October 25. 2021
in the framework of Admiral Eftimov’s official visit to the Republic of Turkey. The two sides discussed the security environment in regional and global terms, as well as its impact on stability and prosperity. The importance of the Black Sea region as a crossroads connecting Europe with the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea and Asia and its importance for European and Euro-Atlantic security was emphasized. Admiral Emil Eftimov pointed out that the complex security environment in the region once again demonstrates the need for a comprehensive and systematic approach of NATO to protect its Eastern flank, according to the Ministry of Defense.
For his part, Army General Guler noted the importance of maintaining a fruitful bilateral dialogue based on good neighborliness and mutual respect. He emphasized Turkey’s important role in maintaining a security balance in the Black Sea region.
During the bilateral military-political dialogue, topics were discussed that would give a positive impetus to cooperation, especially in the context of the Bulgarian proposal to host the regional naval presence (Naval Coordination Center) in Varna, the Bulgarian military said.
Another issue on NATO’s agenda that has been discussed is the possible conduct of cross-border airspace operations between neighboring Allies. Taking into account the good cooperation between the two countries, Admiral Emil Eftimov and Army General Yashar Guler discussed the possibility of adapting the existing bilateral framework agreement on defense cooperation in 1997, the statement said.
The implementation of one of the measures from the adapted forward NATO presence, related to the use of Bulgarian air bases for the performance of sea patrol flights, was also discussed in the scope of topics. Its importance in enhancing the Alliance’s situational awareness and early warning capabilities in the Black Sea region was acknowledged.