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Foreign Minister: Bulgaria will not hold a referendum on Turkish news bulletins January 6, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Bulgaria.
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Bulgaria will not hold a referendum on whether public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television (BNT) should continue a special daily news bulletin in the Turkish language, Foreign Minister Roumyana Zheleva told private national Draik Radio broadcaster on December 19 2009. According to her, the problem was in the unfairness of a referendum when it comes to minority issues such as the 10 minute long Turkish-language news bulletins which has been broadcasted five days a week since 2000.

“We can’t have the majority deciding on something which concerns a smaller group of society. In this sense the referendum idea losses its meaning as the result would be known in advance,” Zheleva said. According to an October 8 report by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, of Europe’s 38 million Muslims, 920 000 live in Bulgaria, where they make up 12.2 per cent of the country’s population. “We can’t have such a referendum because we will become the laughing stock of Europe” Zheleva, who is also Bulgaria’s candidate European Commissioner, nominated for the portfolio of international co-operation, humanitarian aid and emergency response, said. The idea for the referendum was raised by the ultra-nationalist Ataka party on December 15 and was initially supported by Prime Minister and leader of the ruling GERB party Boiko Borissov. The idea met with resistance within the country and broad, and saw Borissov backtracking on his support on December 19.

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