World Bulletin / News Desk
The Turkish minority in Bulgaria dismisses Socialist Party leader's apology on Saturday for assimilation policies in the 80's when citizens of Turkish descent were forced to convert their names to “Bulgarian sounding” names, as 'political electioneering'.
Sezgin Mumin, head of the Bulgarian Turkish Justice Association (BAF), said the apology by Sergey Stanishev at a cabinet rally in Sofia was not sincere and there were political motives behind it.
“The apology was just a mere talk after 23 years of assimilation. There are many problems related to the assimilation policies that necessitate urgent solutions. We are still carrying the converted names on our national identity cards. There is no radio or television station broadcasting in Turkish. The books lectured in the primary schools have not changed since 1983”.
Aside from reclaiming their original names and having media stations broadcasting in Turkish, Bulgaria's Turkish minority expect former communist officials responsible for the assimilation policies, which led to imprisonment of thousands of Turks, to be put under trial.
A countrywide campaign to forcibly assimilate the entire Turkish minority was conducted In late 1984 and early 1985, with the aim of making Bulgaria a “unified socialist nation”.
The Security forces surrounded Turkish villages and the inhabitants to force them to convert their names from Turkish/Islamic ones to those deemed more “Bulgarian”.
Speaking Turkish was banned, many mosques were shut down, and people who followed Islamic practices like circumcision of male children were subjected to prison sentences.
Gonul Mehmedova, the head of another Turkish cultural association in Bulgaria, said that the apology came very late and is not sincere.Last Mod: 20 Kasım 2013, 15:15