Turkish Foreign Minister Congratulates New Chair of Bulgaria's DPS Party
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has sent congratulations to Lyutvi Mestan, the newly elected Chair of Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS).
The new leader was elected Saturday at the 8th national conference of the party with 100% of the votes of the delegates, while Ahmed Dogan, who stepped down, was declared honorary life chair of the party.
The event was marred by an assassination attempt against Dogan, which made headlines in Bulgaria and across the world.
Dogan was delivering a speech when a man came onstage, pointing a gun at the politician.
The gun, which was subsequently found to be a gas pistol with sound bullets and pepper spray, misfired and Dogan was not injured.
The attacker, 25-year-old Oktay Enimemehmedov, an ethnic Turkish resident of the city of Burgas, was brutally beaten up by DPS delegates before security police took him out of the hall.
The investigation of the case continues.
In his letter to the new DPS Chair, Davutoglu congratulates the Bulgarian people and the Turkish minority in particular with the change of leadership at DPS, stressing that the party has made significant contributions to the development of democracy in Bulgaria since its establishment in 1990.
He adds that his utmost wish is for Bulgarian Turks to continue to live with dignity and enjoy equal rights as respected citizens.
The Turkish Foreign Minister also sent a letter to Ahmed Dogan, condemning the attack against him.
"I strongly condemn this horrible act aimed against democracy and the freedom of expression and I most sincerely wish you a fast recovery," Davutuglu says.
"You are a founder of DPS who has been at the helm of the party for 23 years, whose contribution to the political life of Bulgaria in general, and the political, economic, and social development of Bulgarian citizens of Turkish origin in particular, will always be remembered with gratitude," he writes.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul also sent a letter to Dogan, expressing deep regrets over the assassination attempt.
"Our greatest consolation is that you were not injured. I hope that the authorities in Bulgaria will find out the reasons for the attack within the shortest possible term," the letter says.
He also points out that Dogan's contribution to helping members of the Turkish minority take their place as fully fledged members of Bulgarian political and social life will always be remembered.
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