Turkey continues to loom large in concerns about Bulgaria’s parliamentary elections

Amid continuing controversy over concerns about interference by Turkey in Bulgaria’s March 26 early parliamentary elections, caretaker Prime Minister Ognyan Gerdzhikov said that steps were being taken to counter such interference.

Asked on March 17 what steps these were, he referred the question to Stefan Yanev, the caretaker deputy prime minister in charge of the government’s role in preparations for the elections.

Responding to a question whether there was a danger of Turkey intervening in Bulgaria’s election process, Gerdzhikov said: “What does it mean for there to be danger? There are some attempts at things that we do not like, but these things have been cleared up. Measures have been taken”.

As to reports that a mayor in Turkey had been involving himself in the Bulgarian election process and had called for Turkish to become an official language of Bulgaria, the caretaker PM said: “If there are such things, we are taking steps so that they do not continue”.

His comments came after days of mounting tensions between Sofia and Ankara, beginning with reports of a Turkish cabinet minister calling for votes for DOST, a controversy over the Turkish ambassador in Sofia appearing in a DOST video, exchanges of sharp words between the foreign ministries of the two countries as the Turkish ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, and the recall of Bulgaria’s ambassador from Ankara.

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