Should Bulgaria discontinue daily news bulletins in Turkish on the public broadcaster, the country would be on the wrong side of history, Turkey’s ambassador in Sofia, Süleyman Gökçe, said on November 29.
He was speaking against a background of continued insistence by the nationalist Patriotic Front for the removal of once-daily 10-minute afternoon news bulletins in Turkish on Bulgarian National Television.
These new bulletins have been targeted for years by ultra-nationalist parties in Bulgaria, but now the Patriotic Front has some leverage because it is among coalitions with a deal to support the country’s government that came to power in November.
Government figures have hinted that there could be a change, such as shifting the news in Turkish off the national airwaves and putting it only on some regional television broadcasts. This has led to objections in a number of quarters, including from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the party led and supported in the main by Bulgarians of Turkish ethnic descent.
Ambassador Gökçe said that should the news in Turkish be removed, Bulgaria would be in a situation where it would find it difficult to explain to its Euro-Atlantic partners.
As a neighbouring and friendly country, Turkey would not want this to happen, “and we are concerned at such an outcome,” Gökçe said.