Borissov meets Erdoğan after church inauguration in Istanbul

Written by on January 7, 2018 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Borissov meets Erdoğan after church inauguration in Istanbul

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Boiko Borissov, was in Turkey on Sunday, in order to participate in the inauguration of the Bulgarian St. Stefan Church in Istanbul.

Borissov said, the restored temple was “proof of good neighbourliness and peace”. Bulgaria and Turkey had been neighbours for many centuries, while Bulgaria’s EU Council Presidency would only last six months.

Improving relationships provided answers to many questions, Borissov stated. At this stage, there was “zero migration pressure” on Bulgaria. “I have done my job”, the Prime Minister said.

In his speech marking the inauguration of the church in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, the event was an important message to the international community: “Different cultures live together in this city. Today we are proving it once more.”

Erdoğan told his guests at the inauguration, the restoration had started in 2011, “in cooperation with our Bulgarian friends.”

The Turkish President also mentioned the past: “The bad memories of history should not cast a shadow on the hope and the opportunity we have. There must be unity. This is our attitude towards all religions.”

When it comes to Turkey, Borissov is in a difficult position. Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union does not make it easier. While most of the EU is at odds with Erdoğan, for several good reasons, Borissov is trying to keep the relations as smooth as possible.

This has to do with the geography of the two countries, and with the refugee crisis. Last year, there was an argument between Ankara and Sofia, after voices in Bulgaria had claimed that its southern neighbour had tried to influence Bulgaria’s parliamentary elections.

After inaugurating the church, Borissov and Erdoğan had a work meeting. Afterwards, the Bulgarian head of government met Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım for lunch.

Photo source: Borissov’s social media pages.

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