Expelled DPS Leader Vows to Turn Bulgaria into Truly Euro-Atlantic State
The expelled leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), Lyutvi Mestan, founded his new party on Sunday.
The founding conference was held in hall 3 of the National Palace of Culture (NDK) in the Bulgarian capital and was attended by 1103 founders.
The party is called Democrats for Responsibility, Freedom and Tolerance (DOST), with the abbreviation being the Turkish word for friend.
Throughout the conference, Mestan criticised DPS for its links to corruption, oligarchy and its pro-Russian stance.
Mestan stated that DOST will play a decisive role to turn Bulgaria into a truly European and NATO state.
He identified his party as patriotic, anti-oligarchic, anti-corruption, pro-NATO, European and liberal, with DOST ready to admit even DPS members.
Among the guests at the founding conference were the Turkish ambassador to Bulgaria His Excellency Suleyman Gokce and the deputy chairperson of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) party in Turkey, Fatma Betul Kaya.
Kaya said that she expects the party to act as a bridge for the development of the relations between Bulgaria and Turkey.
In her words, the aim of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria is to preserve its identity and to live in prosperity without being subject to discrimination.
According to her, the problems of Bulgarian Turks remain unsolved in many respects.
Kaya identified Mestan as a leader with unswerving Euro-Atlantic orientation, which is of interest to everyone in Bulgaria.
She thanked Mestan for backing Ankara after the downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber by Turkish F-16 fighter jets at the Turkish-Syrian border in November last year.
Mestan was dismissed as chairperson of DPS and excluded from the party at the end of last year after the founder and honorary chairperson of DPS, Ahmed Dogan, had heavily criticised him for issuing a declaration on behalf of DPS in support of Turkey after the downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber.
Since his exclusion, five MPs followed Mestan and left DPS.
Ahead of the founding conference, Mestan visited Ankara last week where he met with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
During their meeting, Mestan noted the need for strategic partnership between Bulgaria and Turkey, assuring that DOST will make its contribution in this respect.
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