Bulgaria votes as rift deepens over Turks
KardzhalI - Anatolia News Agency
Many Bulgarian citizens living in Turkey cast their votes across the country. AA photoThe political divide between the two minority parties competing for Turkish votes in Bulgaria has deepened, as Bulgarians went to polls yesterday to vote in the country’s early general elections.
People’s Party for Freedom and Dignity (HŞHP) head Korman İsmailov accused Movement for Rights and Freedoms (HÖH) chairman Lütfi Mestan of attempting to portray himself as a victim, after he recently received a 2,500 euro fine for campaigning in Turkish in Kardzhali province, where a majority of citizens are of Turkish origin.
“The HÖH leader shouldn’t make himself out to be a martyr,” İsmailov said. “Before the regime changed, with a red band on his arm, he used to punish ordinary citizens speaking in Turkish in Kardzhali. Now, for a year, he has become a Turkophile.” “The HÖH has become a party based on lies, corruption, authoritarianism and fear,” İsmailov added. “News being broadcast in Turkey now, showing that Mestan was fined 2,500 euros for speaking Turkish, cannot hide his real face. He himself used to be ashamed of speaking Turkish in the past.”
The HŞHP is chasing the support of Turkish voters to lower the election threshold while the HÖH, currently represented in Parliament, is likely to again secure seats in Parliament, according to the pre-election polls.
Some 86,000 Bulgarian citizens living in Turkey have cast their votes across the country.