‘Balkan Spring’ from AKP

‘Balkan Spring’ from AKP

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Tekirdağ deputy Bülent Belen said the government had initiated a “Balkan Spring” similar to the “Arab Spring.” Belen is using the Balkan Spring expression due to the general election in Bulgaria to be held on May 12.

“Would you interfere with another state’s internal affairs?” he is asking.

Belen has also told Interior Minister Muammer Güler that he would file a parliamentary question. He has sent the Çorlu district Gov. Hüseyin Doğan, in the northwestern province Tekirdağ this letter:

“On the date April 30, 2013, at Çorlu, in the teacher’s lounge, all the neighborhood headmen of the province, mayors of Ulaş, Velimeşe, Marmaracık and Sultanköy from Marmaraereğlisi, as well as heads of refugee associations were gathered for a meeting on the topic of the parliamentary elections in Bulgaria to be held on May 12, 2013. They were told that the state was supporting the People’s Party for Freedom and Dignity, and that participants should hang the propaganda material of this party such as posters and placards in their regions. Also the participants were asked to advise voters to vote for that party. These stories were all printed in the local press.”

“Accordingly… Which organ do you mean when you said the state? Who or which institution represents this state? As an officer at public service, have you received a written or verbal instruction on this matter? If so, who has issued this instruction?

“As a civilian authority, while your duty is to maintain peace and order in your jurisdiction, how would you explain this behavior of yours that would lead to political rivalry, separation and incitement among our immigrant citizens? This meeting you have organized and the speech you have made, which correspond to interfering in a foreign country’s interior affairs, have you not thought that they would put the government and the person or the institution you have referred to as the state into a difficult situation in the international community?”

Belen claimed that behind all this business was ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Istanbul deputy Hüseyin Bürge, whose family were also immigrants from Bulgaria. Bürge was also known as the manager of the iftar (fast-breaking meal) project conducted during the months of Ramadan while he was the mayor of Bayrampaşa district of Istanbul.

Belen said Tekirdağ Gov. Ali Yerlikaya had called all refugee associations and given them “instructions” on this matter. Belen said, in a recorded speech of his, that Bürge had said this: “The state is no longer supporting the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (HÖH) led by Lütfi Mestan. Instead of them, it is supporting the People’s Party for Freedom and Dignity chaired by Korman İsmailov, with deputy chair Kasım Dal.”

In a speech Hüseyin Bürge delivered on April 19 in Çorlu at a meeting with refugee associations, Belen said Bürge was reported as saying, “I am here on behalf of the state. I am speaking in the name of the state, not my party.” Belen asked, “Isn’t this interfering with Bulgaria’s internal affairs?”

Yalçın Bayer is a columnist for daily Hürriyet, in which this piece was published on May 3. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.