Turkish-origin candidate to run for Bulgarian president

First time in 32 years Turkish-origin candidate nominated for presidency.

Turkish-origin candidate to run for Bulgarian president

A Turkish-origin candidate will contest the presidential elections in Bulgaria for the first time.

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) party nominated Mustafa Karadayi to run for president.

Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in Bulgaria on Sunday. Nearly 12,000 voting centers will be set up in the country and Bulgarian citizens living abroad, including in Turkey, will be able to vote at 775 centers.

Hasan Azis, the MRF's deputy chairman and mayor of Kardzhali, a province with a dense Muslim and Turk population, called on citizens to vote wisely.

As Azis could not speak Turkish during the campaign in accordance with the election law in Bulgaria, he spoke to Anadolu Agency in Bulgarian.

He noted that for the first time in 32 years, a Turkish-origin candidate was nominated for the presidency.

"These elections are a historic moment in the democratic development of both our party and Bulgaria. We are in favor of supporting our candidate. We expect this support both in Bulgaria and in Europe, the US, and Turkey where Bulgarian citizens reside," said Azis.

Azis said that MRF has proven itself to be a political party with national responsibility since the day it was founded and it supports Bulgaria's NATO and EU membership.

"Of the 24 presidential and vice-presidential candidates in Bulgaria, only MRF has nominated Karadayi and [European Parliament Deputy Iskra] Mihaylova, an ethnic Turk and an ethnic Bulgarian, as the symbol of our nation's unity.

"Why shouldn't an ethnic Turk like Mustafa Karadayi be elected in Bulgaria? I think the Bulgarian society and all of us are ready for this now," he said.

Meanwhile, Turks living in Bulgaria hope for an egalitarian president, who prioritizes the interest of the people.

Businessman Metin Hasan told Anadolu Agency that he expects the president to treat everyone equally.

"I expect the president to approach the people with warmth, not by raising a fist in the air, but by embracing the public," said Hasan.

Mumin Cavusoglu, a 70-year-old retired worker, said that Turks were living in captivity during the deposed communist dictator Todor Jivkov's era decades ago.

"May Allah bless MRF. They showed up and we began to live like human beings. People should have religious beliefs. They should recognize the rights of everyone. We, as Turks, want to live our Turkishness here like a Turk," said Cavusoglu.