Tensions in Bulgaria's Ethnic Turk Party over Revival Process Commemorations
Both the current leadership of predominantly ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) party and its expelled chair Lyutvi Mestan are attending a second day of commemorations of the tragic events for Bulgaria's Turkish minority in Saturday.
Mestan was dismissed as DPS leader and expelled from the party on his birthday on Christmas Eve after the honorary chairman, Ahmed Dogan, had criticized him over his move to side with Turkey about the downed Russian plane and the escalation of tensions that followed between Ankara and Moscow.
Thirty-two years ago, on December 26, a dark episode of the so-called Revival Process unfolded with three people (including a three-month-old baby) killed during a peaceful protest against forced assimilation.
The tragic events in the village of Mogilyane near Kardzhali (southern Bulgaria) could reportedly be attended by Turkey's Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Early Saturday morning, both Mestan and Turkish Ambassador Suleyman Gokce arrived to Mogilyane for the commemorations.
But the new interim leadership of three DPS members (Mustafa Karadayi, Chetin Kazak, and Rushen Riza) were also there, daily 24 Chasa reports.
The Revival Process comprises years of assimilation of Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish minority under the communist rule of Todor Zhivkov. Between 1985 and 1989, hundreds of thousands were forced to change their names (and to bear Bulgarian ones) with some 360 000 forced into exile after protests against the assimilation policies took place in Bulgaria's north-east.
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