Bulgaria: Party of Turkish minority vehemently opposes Erdoğan’s referendum

Written by on April 6, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Bulgaria: Party of Turkish minority vehemently opposes Erdoğan’s referendum

One of the two Bulgarian parties which say they fight for the interests of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria, the Movement for Rights and Freedom (MRF), has released a declaration, which harshly criticizes the referendum in Turkey, scheduled for April 16 2017, and the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

This move by the MRF is interesting, also because it is the first time this party has launched an attack of this kind, in form of a declaration, against the leadership in Ankara.

In the declaration it said, the referendum would not just change Turkey forever, but also the Balkans, Europe and the world.

Erdoğan had sought “uncontrolled power” in the state. He wanted “to be a president, prime minister and party leader” at the same time, “without controls and balances”. The MRF stated, the referendum threatened democracy, the respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law.

The party also called on “all democratic forces and countries” to “take a strong position today”.

The MRF declaration reads, their party, with a history of over 30 years, said no to the referendum, categorically. They said no to a lack of freedom of speech, to the practice of arrests of intellectuals and journalists, to a facade of a false democracy, to violence and a dictatorship in any form.

At the end of the declaration, the MRF turned to religion, saying “God is our help.”

Before the recent parliamentary elections, a Turkish government member had “recommended” voting for DOST, another Bulgarian party which claims to defend the interests of the Turkish minority in the country. DOST is headed by former MRF chairman Lyutvi Mestan.

In spite of what was widely criticized as interference into Bulgaria’s inner affairs on the part of Erdoğan’s leadership, DOST did not make it into Bulgaria’s National Assembly, while the MRF got 8.99 percent of the votes, which translate into 26 seats in parliament.

One of the MRF’s most prominent politicians and MPs is Delyan Peevski, who is also a media mogul and owner of many companies of other kinds, who has been in the center of scandals not just once. During the election campaign, a company owned by Peevski had distributed a free book to readers of one of his newspapers, in which two new reformist parties were being attacked for being part of the mafia. After a complaint was filed, the Central Election Commission (CEC) forbade the book.

On the photo: MRF’s chairman Mustafa Karadaya. Photo by MRF.

 

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com