Personal Story: Svetlana and her struggle to get a Bulgarian Passport
Svetlana Telpiz is a native of Moldova. However, she feels Bulgarian. "I want to tell my story of despair and endless waiting in the hope of obtaining Bulgarian citizenship," she wrote in a letter to the media.
"The situation with the consideration of granting Bulgarian citizenship to people of Bulgarian origin has dragged on for an incredible time. They started to refuse citizenship to the Gagauz of Bulgarian origin without any arguments", says Svetlana.
"In November 2017, I submitted documents to the Bulgarian consulate to receive confirmation of Bulgarian origin. A year and 2 months later (January 5, 2019) I received a documentary confirmation. On the basis of the document of Bulgarian origin, as well as all the documents required to obtain citizenship, I signed up to apply to the Consulate of Bulgaria, which is located in Chisinau," she writes.
"When submitting the documents, there was an interview in which they were interested in my nationality, my relatives who have Bulgarian citizenship (my older sister received Bulgarian citizenship based on Bulgarian origin in 2003) and many other questions. Today (11.04.2022) marks exactly 3 years since the submission of the documents and I still have the final status of reviewing the documents. My middle sister has also been waiting for an answer for 3 years now," says Svetlana.
"In January 2022, my parents applied for Bulgarian citizenship based on Bulgarian origin. Three months later - on March 28, on the website of the 'Directorate of Bulgarian Citizenship' their status was changed to:
'The certificate issued by the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, which certifies your Bulgarian origin, does not include the documents on the basis of which the legal conclusion was made that you are of Bulgarian origin. In this regard and on the grounds of Art. 6, para. 1, item 1 of Ordinance № 1 of 19 February 1999 on the application of Chapter Five of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act should submit the required documents by 28.05.2022. If you do not submit the documents in time, your file will be considered at a meeting of the Citizenship Council with an opinion that the application will not be granted.' The announcement was published on March 28, 2022."
"We turned to the Bulgarian Consulate in Chisinau, Moldova and they told us that due to the change of government in Bulgaria, they now interpret the law on Bulgarian citizenship differently and no longer recognize Gagauz as Bulgarians, so they want us to provide additional documents that say 'Bulgarians'. When asked how Bulgaria used to recognize the Gagauz as its ancestors, but now they have stopped being such, the consulate told me that the government in Bulgaria has changed and now they interpret the laws differently," Svetlana explains.
"This means that decades ago the Gagauz people were recognized as Bulgarian citizenship by origin but now, when there are new people in power, the law can be interpreted however they please. Then how can we be with the thousands of other Gagauz Bulgarians who received citizenship in the past and also with the Gagauz Bulgarians who are being denied citizenship and asked for a document of Bulgarian origin, which we officially received from Bulgarian authorities but now it is suddenly not applicable."
"My own sister managed to become a Bulgarian citizen because Bulgaria has recognized us for decades, and now we have become unwanted by the state?" Svetlana is indignant.
At the end of her letter, Svetlana called for the Gagauz of Bulgarian origin to be granted Bulgarian citizenship. "We consider ourselves Bulgarians and want to live again in our historical homeland. We sincerely love Bulgaria, we respect Bulgarian traditions, and we know and speak Bulgarian!" she concludes.
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