Bulgaria PM Downplays Impact of DPS Scandal on Ties with Turkey, Russia
Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov on Wednesday dismissed comments that the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) party, the second-largest opposition, is being used to start a dispute about relations with Russia and Turkey.
Last week, predominantly Turk DPS's honorary chairman Ahmed Dogan criticized then leader Lyutvi Mestan for his decision to side with Turkey on the , in a statement read out loud from Parliament's rostrum. Mestan was subsequently removed as head of the DPS and expelled from the party.
"I want us to have friendly ties with both countries," Focus News Agency quotes Borisov as telling reporters.
Commenting on reports that Mestan sought refuge at the Turkish Embassy prior to his dismissal, Borisov said:
"In our daily contacts ambassadors come to us, we go to embassies, well I don't, not even to their national holidays if you noticed, but they meet very often with ministers and lawmakers, so it's up to everybody to exlain [Mestan's actions] for themselves."
"I think we reached an agreement with the Turkish Prime Minister [Ahmet Davutoglu], Borisov said, referring to a phone conversation with Davutoglu dated last week when Borisov's Turkish counterpart allegedly asked him to intervene in the infighting at DPS. The Bulgarian head of government was then reported as saying that "over Mestan and Dogan" he would "choose Bulgaria".
"I thank [Davutoglu] that the Deputy PM and the Foreign Minister did not come to Kardzhali."
Initially, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was expected to be in Kardzhali, Southern Bulgaria, for commemorative ceremonies honouring Bulgarian Turk victims of a peaceful protest in the village of Mogilyane in 1984.
The visit had also been coordinated with the DPS at the time Mestan was still the party's leader.
"Bulgaria is a free state and everyone could come on a private visit, but that would be a very bad sign," Borisov explained, stressing he had talked to the cabinet and refused to receive the minister.
Both Mestan and the new DPS leadership attended the commemorations.
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