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Bulgarian PM Vows Interethnic Brotherhood August 15, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Bulgaria, Turkey.
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Bulgaria: Bulgarian PM Vows Interethnic Brotherhood
Hundreds of thousands ethnic Turks were forced out of Bulgaria in the second half of the 1980s.

Ethnic Bulgarian Turks and Bulgarians have lived and will live together as brothers, said Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov on a visit in the ethnically Turkish region of Shumen.

Speaking in Izgrev village, Borisov said that rumors his center-right GERB party has an anti-Turkish orientation are completely groundless.

One of GERB’s chief political adversaries is the liberal Movement for Rights and Freedoms, which is known as the party defending the interests of the ethnic Turks in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Constitution does not allow parties being built on an ethnic principle.

PM Borisov said to Izgrev residents he was greatly disaffected by the words of Movement for Rights and Freedoms leader Ahmed Dogan, who has warned people in the ethnically Turkish populated regions that they will suffer repercussions if Borisov came to power.

Since Bulgaria’s breaking out of the Ottoman Empire in the end of the 19th century Bulgaria’s ethnically Turkish population has seen a history of persecution and forced assimilation attempts that are rarely discussed.

In the most large-scale campaign, the Communist government staged a shameful campaign in the 1980s, called “The Revival Process”, in which it forced Turks to adopt Bulgarian names or leave the country. Nearly a million people were targeted, and an exodus of more than 350,000 left Bulgaria for Turkey.

Bulgaria’s present PM Boyko Borisov, who was serving in the forces of the Ministry of Interior at the time, actually participated in the “Revival Process”, allegedly as security staff.

In the campaign for the 2009 general elections, Dogan, whose party was in the then-ruling tripartite coalition, impudently threatened ethnic Turks in Bulgaria that if his GERB party wins, Borisov will stage a new “Revival Process.”

Ahmed Dogan is criticised, among other things, of winning the support of voters by “playing the ethnic card,” threatening unrest or inter-ethnic discord should his party fail to get a decent share of power.

PM Borisov is viewed by some as authoritarian in style and his acrid remarks against Dogan and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms have led some to worry about his stance toward Bulgaria’s ethnic Turks.

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