Former Bulgarian FM: Involving Geopolitics in Intra-Party Conflicts Is Dangerous
Former Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov warned against the dangers of justifying an intra-party conflict with geopolitics.
In an interview for private NOVA TV on Monday, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process commented on the recent splits with the second largest opposition party – the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS).
The tensions within DPS started to appear after a declaration by its former chairperson Lyutvi Mestan on the downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber by Turkey.
In a new year's address to the elite of the party, founder and honorary chairperson of DPS, Ahmed Dogan, harshly criticised Mestan's declaration in support of Turkey.
At an extraordinary meeting attended by most of the party's governing body, DPS dismissed Mestan from the leadership position and excluded him from the parliamentary group and the party.
According to Mladenov, it was dangerous to justify the intra-party conflict within DPS with geopolitics and the deteriorating relations between Russia and Turkey.
The diplomat expressed concern about the recent public statements of foreign statesmen concerning the internal political processes taking place in Bulgaria.
The former foreign minister added that Bulgaria is an ally of Turkey within NATO, but at the same time the country maintains serious economic relations with Russia.
In his words, the relations between Bulgaria, Greece, Russia and Turkey were matter to be determined by the government rather than by intra-party developments.
Mladenov identified the practice of involving geopolitics into intra-party conflicts as “inconvenient” and “ugly”.
For him, the splits within DPS were an intra-party conflict which had its economic and personal explanations and were in no small part due to leadership ambitions.
He was firm that no one should make Bulgarians choose between Russia and Turkey.
In his opinion, the refusal of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to take sides in the conflict between Dogan and Mestan was correct.
Mladenov noted that there were several priorities which Bulgaria has to realize with Russia and Turkey, such as enhancing control on the southeastern border in view of the refugee wave and constructing of a gas hub to serve as distributor for the whole of Southeastern Europe.
According to him, the EU was not disintegrating, but was rather experiencing a deep crisis.
However the EU had gone through much harsher crises, demonstrated the ability to adapt and was powerful enough to deal with the current challenges.
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