Bulgaria Backs Thrace Refugees in Claiming Compensations from Turkey

Politics » DIPLOMACY | November 4, 2009, Wednesday // 20:09| Views: | Comments: 27
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Backs Thrace Refugees in Claiming Compensations from Turkey The geographic and historic region of Thrace is located in Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. Map by wikipedia

Bulgaria's Foreign Minister, Rumiana Jeleva, has expressed support for the cause of descendants of Bulgarian refugees from Eastern Thrace to claim compensations from Turkey.

Jeleva met Wednesday with the leaders of the Union of Thracian Associations – the organization uniting the descendants of Bulgarians who fled Eastern Thrace (today’s European Turkey) during and after the wars of 1912-1918 of atrocities, or emigrated in the 1920s.

The children of the one-time Bulgarian refugees demand compensations for the real estate property that their forebears left behind in European Turkey.

Minister Jeleva said the Thracian refugeescompensation issues was a top priority for her institution, and was an important part of the Joint Bulgaria-Turkey Committee on unresolved questions.

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Tags: Foreign Minister, Rumiana Jeleva, turkey, compensation, Thracian, European Turkey, Eastern Thrace, refugees, Union of Thracian Associations
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» To the forumComments (27)
GrueFski - 13 Jun 2015 // 14:10:01


Adrianople/Adrianopolis, not Yet-Another-Turks'-opolis

GrueFski - 13 Jun 2015 // 14:05:49

The fact that there are Bulgarians names for Kirklareli (Lozengrad) and Edirne towns (Odrin) but also for other villages and former villages/towns/cities suggests that Bulgarians have been present there, living there, in European part of present-day Turkey when the Ottoman Turks conquered it.
Turkish "historical rights" on that territory however are nothing, literally nothing when compared to the Greeks'.


Anyways, that's not the point. The point is those Bulgarians were legal owners and they have yet to be compensated.

sabin4s - 13 Jun 2015 // 13:00:16

I recommend everybody, the minister as well, to read history and the documents from those years. Why were Bulgarians there and how long they have stayed on those lands. Actually Bulgarians had occupied that region when Ottoman Empire was going down, weakening, while they had to be in war at different countries. And afterwards, whenever they had enough power again, they had pushed the Bulgarians off from their lands. That's the fact, don't follow the unrealistic projects of fascists.

GrueFski - 13 Jun 2015 // 12:27:56

what's the status of the compensations talks beween Bulgaria and Turkey?

and also when are the Nazis going to pay the entire compensations sum to Greece?

they were in trouble after the war, the Greeks understood this and pardoned them of their debt
now the Greeks are in trouble but Germany won't return the favor
nice non-Nazi "new"-German mentality

NellieotAmerica - 6 Jan 2010 // 13:55:22


Turkey AGREED to this restitution of property to ethnic Bulgarians. Turkey agreed in a treaty and then reneged. Turkey lied. All Muslims lie and feel justified by their scripture to lie to unbelievers. That's why whole nations like Iran, Iraq, etc. lie to us and we are too dumb to understand this.

DrFaust - 6 Jan 2010 // 13:08:03


as I pointed out before, territorial claims against any neighbours of Bulgaria are without any justification.

Another question is in fact, if there are still property damages to ethnic Bulgarians for which they may claim compensation from modern Turkey. I doubt that this has any chance before a Turkish court (or anywhere else), for various reasons.

One might be that it will be difficult to even provide documents of ownership for any land or building or other property. In many cases there were no such documents, or they are lost.

And even if they exist, almost no one can read them anymore (written in old Turkish that is very different and not understandable for Turks of today, additionally written in Arabic script).

Furthermore, Turkey may claim not to be the legal successor state of the Ottoman Empire, and there is enough historical and legal justification for this.

Next problem would be to decide if these documents are authentic, and what happens when the other side claims it acquired the property legally, e.g. by buying it.

Next question: since also Turks lost their properties in Bulgaria without compensation, one could argue that these questions are connected. Bulgaria would then also have to face claims of Turks, Greeks, Romanians, Serbs that ask 'their' property back that their ancestors lost as a consequence of the Balkan wars.

Of course this would have also an impact on other minorities and countries in the Balkans: the Albanians in Cameria/Epiros would ask their property back (in fact these people were Greek citizens when they were forced to leave their home country, many of them got killed by the Greeks), and so on and on. I don't think that is a realistic scenario.

What slipped the attention of many people who support these claims of Bulgarians is in fact, that on the same basis, Bulgaria would face also innumerous such claims by people living abroad whose ancestors lost their homes and properties in Bulgaria, especially after the Balkan wars. It would be not a smart decision by Bulgaria to open this box of Pandora.

It would be of course a good thing, if the Turkish courts would indeed in justified cases order the restitution or compensation of properties taken away from their legal owners.

But considering similar claims of ethnic minorities against many other established EU countries (Greece, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia), it would be clearly a case of 'double standards'. We expect from the Turks that they fulfill higher legal standards than many established EU members, and that is simply hypocrite and not justified.

Bill - 6 Jan 2010 // 12:44:07


I just did some large-scale scanning on Google Earth, and discovered that Istanbul is in fact on the north (well, west, given the angle of the straits), i.e. European side. It's ?sk?dar that's on the south.

That would mean that at least this part of the country has been under Turkish rule for millennia.

DrFaust - 6 Jan 2010 // 11:40:21


just for the record: Edirne/Odrin (the second biggest city of the European part of Turkey) belonged to Greece between 1920 and 1923, in 1913 it was conquered and mostly destroyed by Bulgarians for a few months, and in the Russian-Turkish wars 1877-78 and 1828-29 the city was for a few months under Russian control.

Beside from these very short intermezzi, Edirne/Odrin and Eastern Thracia was part of the Ottoman Empire since 1361, and also the capital between 1368 and 1453. Between 1250 and 1361 Odrin was byzantine, and only between 1205 and 1240, the city and the surrounding was part of the Bulgarian Empire.

That makes it 35 years and a few months (within the last about 1000 years) that Bulgaria had control over a part of Eastern Thracia, enough to make some chauvinists asking for this territory from Turkey. Pathetic!

DrFaust - 6 Jan 2010 // 11:27:24


"Are you saying that the Turkish territory north of the straits never belonged to any Balkan country? I know Constantinople has been around for a few thousand years, but did they hold the northern territory the whole time?"

In fact Byzantium/Constantinople was part of the Roman (later Byzantine) Empire, and was conquered by the Ottomans in 1453. There was only one invasion of Constantinople before, in 1204 when the crusaders massacred a big part of the Christian population. There is absolutely no justification for a Bulgarian claim for Constantinople/Istanbul.

If you consider Turkey as the legal follower of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey is geographically and politically a European power since hundreds of years.

Bill - 6 Jan 2010 // 09:48:37


Not to criticize, but just for my own information.

To Balgarska:

"Furthermore, it might have slipped your attention that Konstantinopel was NEVER Bulgarian territory."

Are you saying that the Turkish territory north of the straits never belonged to any Balkan country? I know Constantinople has been around for a few thousand years, but did they hold the northern territory the whole time?

Outside of Turkey's participation in European defense plans, etc., this bit of land is really Turkey's only claim to being European.

dzingis - 6 Jan 2010 // 08:07:04

As for this American trailer thrash Balgarska. I don't know if there are still active board moderators but Balgarska should of been banned long time ago - for openly showing Nazi affiliation and mindless insults.

dzingis - 6 Jan 2010 // 08:03:45

DrFaust, don't forget the Bulgarian refugees from Serbia and FYROM forced out after WW2.

DrFaust - 6 Jan 2010 // 05:04:41


when I read your posts, I am always wondering if you are serious. It is difficult to believe that you REALLY believe what you write. For example:

"The only way I can ever feel compensated is if Turkey hands over Eastern Thrace including Odrin and Konstantinopol over to the Bulgarian state. If not then they can f off."

You are not Bulgarian, despite your nick, so for what should YOU feel compensated or not? It's simply irrelevant here what you feel.

Furthermore, the possible compensation (if there is a legal basis) will be either restitution of private property, or compensation in money. This is not about any territorial claims whatsoever.

The 'exchange of population' between the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria was not the only one in the Balkans. There have been similar events in Bulgaria (ethnic cleansing of Greeks and Romanians and remember the Anti-Turkish initiative in the 80s), but also of the other countries (Greece and its Muslims which were NOT Turks, the Albanians in the Cameria, etc. etc.). If you open this chapter, the result will be in the least case a considerable tension, in the worst case new ethnic cleansing and wars in the Balkans. Or do you REALLY think that any politician would give up on any of the state's territory?

Furthermore, it might have slipped your attention that Konstantinopel was NEVER Bulgarian territory. So, what's the point of your remark?

Another thing: Bulgaria is a member of many international organizations and has signed a bunch of international binding treaties, especially after the both world wars. Therefore Bulgaria is not in the position to make ANY territorial claim to its neighbours. Anything else would be a break of these treaties and would require that Bulgaria will be eliminated as a member of the UN, NATO, EU, Council of Europe, and others. Are you REALLY suggesting this?

Besides, will Bulgaria then give up the territory it unlawfully grabbed from its neighbour Romania and in clear break of the Peace Treaty after WW I?

Just a few questions. But I am quite sure, you are only joking.

NellieotAmerica - 5 Jan 2010 // 21:13:12


Clearly you have been brainwashed by Islamo-Fascist propaganda. You are exhibiting the anti-semitism that is exactly why Turkey ain't getting in the EU anytime soon. I would rather live among Jews than among Turkish vermin. The Jews are intelligent and peaceful in contrast to the Muslims who are dumb and aggressive.

lev - 5 Jan 2010 // 20:45:54


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