Bulgaria’s MRF leader speaks out against removing Turkish-language news from national airwaves

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) has called on Bulgaria’s government to rethink the idea of removing Turkish-language daily news bulletins from national public broadcasters and putting them instead on some regional stations, saying that such regionalisation is “dangerous”.

After the centre-right GERB party returned to power on November 7, with its supporters in Parliament including the nationalist Patriotic Front, GERB confirmed that it was considering heeding demands to remove Turkish-language news from national airwaves.

Such a step has been a signature demand among nationalist parties for years. After the approval of legislation in Parliament, Turkish-language news bulletins began on Bulgarian National Television in October 2000 and currently are shown once daily in the afternoon.

Speaking in the National Assembly on November 12 2014, MRF leader Lyutvi Mestan – whose electorate is mainly Bulgarians of Turkish ethnicity – said that daily news in Turkish was not just a matter of information but also of symbolic value because of the respect it showed for ethnic and religious diversity.

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