World Bulletin / News Desk
The party representing Bulgaria’s Turkish minority has come under fire for nominating two former members of the ultra-nationalist Attack party for next month’s general election.
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) selected Slavi Binev, a former EU lawmaker for Attack, and Kamen Petkov, who quit the party in 2010, to stand for parliamentary seats.
While the DPS looks to the Muslim, Turkish and Roma communities for its support, Attack has been accused of racism and xenophobia.
Zurfettin Hacioglu, president of the Balkan Rumeli Turks Confederation, said the nominations were “the biggest insult” to Turkish and Muslim communities in Bulgaria.
“These people are nominated from the area where our Pomak brothers are living,” he said, referring to Bulgarian Muslims.
“Nominating former members of Attack, who are hostile to Turkish people, by the votes of Turkish people, is another way of saying to them ‘Do not vote for this political party’.”
Nedim Donmez, of the Edirne Balkan Turks Federation, also condemned the selection of Binev and Petkov.
“'These are the two parties that jointly serve others,” he told Anadolu Agency. “They are in an effort to create conflicts inside Turkey by paving way for divisions among Bulgarian citizens who had settled in Turkey after the 1989 migration.”
In 1989, Bulgaria’s Communist regime forced 360,000 Bulgarians of Turkish origin to migrate to Turkey. These people are able to vote in Bulgarian elections and Donmez called on them not to support “extreme racist Bulgarian nominees”.
Bulgarians will vote on March 26 in the third parliamentary election since 2013.
In a joint statement, the G7 leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, along with the European Union, said they "are united in rejecting the electoral process" that led to the May 20 ballot.
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