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Govt Baffled by Demands for Bulgarian School in Northern Cyprus October 11, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Bulgaria, Kibris.
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Bulgaria: Govt Baffled by Demands for Bulgarian School in Northern Cyprus
Bulgarian Diaspora Minister Dimitrov has boasted a doubling of the number of the Bulgarian schools abroad.

Bulgaria’s government is currently perplexed as to how to go about the opening of a Bulgarian school in the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

This has been announced by Diaspora Minister Bozhidar Dimitrov, who spoke at a public discussion in Sofia organized by the “PR Thursday” club of M3 College where he was the special guest.

“We have been really surprised to find out that there are about 9 000-10 000 Bulgarian expats of ethnic Turkish origin residing in Northern Cyprus, who have asked for the opening of a Bulgarian school so that their kids can attend it,” Dimitrov said.

He explained that the expats in question are from those Bulgarian Turks who left Bulgaria in the late 1980s fleeing from the so called “Revival” or “Regeneration Process”, an assimilation campaign of the Bulgarian communist regime forcing Muslims, Bulgarians and Turks alike, to adopt Slavic-Christian names. Estimates say some 200 000-300 000 Bulgarian Turks and Muslims left the country then even though about half are believed to have come back after the regime collapsed in 1989.

“What is particularly bewildering for us in this case is the fact that Bulgaria has not recognized the independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and therefore the Bulgarian government has no way of sponsoring a Bulgarian school there. If we open a Bulgarian school there, this will mean the recognition of this quasi-state. So we are stuck at the moment. But we will definitely find some form under which we can do it, in one way or another,” Dimitrov said.

He pointed out that a similar community of expat Bulgarian Turks living in Turkey’s Edirne, right to the southeast of the Bulgarian border had asked the Bulgarian government for a Bulgarian school, which is currently attended by 53 children.

The Diaspora Minister boasted an increase of the Bulgarian schools abroad to 136 since he took office a year ago, up from about 50.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was proclaimed in 1983 and has been recognized only by Turkey.

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