Bulgarian head of state President Roumen Radev has revived the issue of compensation from Turkey for the descendants of ethnic Bulgarian refugees who fled Eastern Thrace amid the upheavals of the Second Balkan War.
The question of compensation has lingered between Bulgaria and Turkey for decades, and is a popular topic especially among Bulgarian nationalists.
It was a pet subject for Bozhidar Dimitrov, the late former head of the Bulgarian National History Museum.
Speaking on August 18 at a ceremony commemorating the 115th anniversary of the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie uprising, Radev said: “Our fair expectations are for the historical truth to be upheld, and this depends on all of us”.
Radev said that he had already raised the issue of compensation for descendants of the refugees from Thrace and would continue to demand a clear answer whenever historical facts are neglected or questioned.
The issue has been a vexed one in domestic Bulgarian politics. In 2011, when Dimitrov was a member of Boiko Borissov’s first government, Dimitrov said that Bulgaria should veto Turkey’s EU candidacy unless the compensation issue was settled. Borissov publicly rebuked Dimitrov for the statement and denied that Bulgaria would take such a step.
Those who claim that Turkey owes compensation to Bulgaria base this on the Bulgarian-Turkish Angora Treaty of 1925, and claim that the sum involved is $10 billion.