Bulgarian police on Friday removed barricades that nationalists placed at border crossings with Turkey promising to stop Turks with dual citizenship and what they call "tourism voting" in snap parliamentary elections at the weekend.
The police intervention against demonstrators blocking the passage of buses from Turkey followed a meeting of caretaker Prime Minister Ognyan Gerdzhikov with Interior Minister Plamen Uzunov, Bulgarian state radio reported.
The organizers said they intend to stop Turks who live across the border but also hold a Bulgarian passport.
Similar blockades were erected at the Kapitan Andreevo and Lesovo checkpoints earlier in the week, but petered out. On Friday a protest briefly also blocked the Malko Tarnovo crossing, where two Turkish buses eventually drove through.
Around 300,000 ethnic Turks moved to Turkey proper during the harsh Communist rule. The Communists, who repressed ethnic identity and religion, fell in 1989.
Bulgaria's nationalists, grouped on a single ticket for Sunday's polls with a chance to become the third-largest bloc in parliament, claimed that 1,000 buses with voters are due from Turkey. So far a total of 29 buses arrived, according to police figures.
Turks are the largest minority in Bulgaria, making up 10 per cent of the 7.25 million inhabitants. Their Party for Rights and Freedoms has been a part of several governments.
Border blockades reflect deteriorating relations between Sofia and Ankara, which traded barbs ahead of the election. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday accused Sofia of pressuring his compatriots over the vote.
Bulgarian President Rumen Radev dismissed the accusations, saying that his country "neither offers lessons in democracy, nor takes any, particularly not from countries not practicing democracy."
Radev earlier accused Turkey of trying to interfere in Bulgaria's elections. Last weekend, Bulgaria recalled its Ankara-based envoy and summoned the Turkish ambassador in Sofia for talks.
The strife is in line with worsening relations between Turkey and several EU member states.