DPS Scandal 'Will Create Islamist Party in Bulgaria,' Historian Warns
The developments at Bulgaria's predominantly ethnic Turk DPS party will result in the foundation of an Islamist party for the first time in Bulgarian history, a historian has warned.
Antonina Zhelyazkova, distinguished for her work on the life of the ethnic Turk population (accounting for some 10% of the total), has told the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) that "among the people who splintered off with him there are those ambitious enough to head a radical and pro-Islamist project".
"Of course, this will not bring about much benefit to Bulgaria, but let's hope our political life [will as] always manage to control such concussions," according to Zhelyazkova.
Lyutvi Mestan, under whose tenure the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) had started rapprochement with Turkey, was expelled from the party after heavy criticism from DPS honorary chair Ahmed Dogan. In a New Year address, Dogan reproached Mestan for siding with Turkey in a November statement signed by the DPS which condemned Russia for violating Turkish space and embraced Ankara's position on the downing of a Russian Su-24 fighter-bomber.
Mestan has not yet said whether or not he will set up his own political project, but has not ruled out such a step.
"Until now in Bulgaria we haven't had a very strong political project which will divide the electorate of DPS. And now maybe even Mr Mestan doesn't know, but what is about to happen is the foundation of a new political project that will be pro-Islamist. Only in Bulgaria was there no project like this," the historian has added.
Zhelyazkova has pointed out that Mestan himself might refuse to head such a "pro-Islamist" party.