WikiLeaks: Bulgarian Nationalists, Ethnic Turks 'Need Each Other'

Politics » DIPLOMACY | May 22, 2011, Sunday // 18:04
Bulgaria: WikiLeaks: Bulgarian Nationalists, Ethnic Turks 'Need Each Other' Nationalist Ataka leader, Volen Siderov. Photo by

Bulgaria's nationalist Ataka (Attack) party and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms are each other's "best enemies", according to a freshly released WikiLeaks diplomatic cable.

"Local analysts say Ataka and MRF need each other to frighten their constituents into voting.  The MRF enjoys solid support from Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish minority.  Its ability to consistently deliver the ethnic Turkish vote gives it influence disproportionate to its size, especially when turnout is low," the cable, which analyses the Bulgarian political climate ahead of the 2009 parliamentary elections in the country, says.

"The surprise success of the 2005 parliamentary elections, Ataka continues to attract extremists from the left and right, former army and security officers, and those embittered by the transition to a market economy.  The party's rhetoric is anti-Semitic, anti-NATO and EU, anti-U.S., anti-government and anti-minority (ethnic Turks and Roma)," according to Nancy McEldowney, former US Ambassador to Bulgaria.

"High profile scandals centered on the autocratic leader Volen Siderov have not undermined electoral support.  Polling at about 10 percent, Ataka is certain to return to the European and national parliaments.  If not acceptable as a coalition partner, it may still play kingmaker offering informal support to a minority government," the cable further states.

Currently, Ataka is the ruling centrist-right GERB's only parliamentary ally.

On Friday, Siderov produced what may be described as Siderov's biggest scandal up to date. far-right extremists from the Ataka party assaulted praying Muslims in downtown Sofia. The outburst occurred while the nationalists led by their leader Volen Siderov staged a rally near the Banya Bashi mosque in Sofia protesting against the use of loudspeakers by the mosque.

"With a roughly 10-percent lead over BSP, GERB will win the largest share of votes but not a majority and will have to find partners to form a government.  Though it calls itself center-right and uses pro-Western rhetoric, the party is really the one-man show of its founder and leader Boyko Borisov, former Interior Ministry Chief Secretary and bodyguard to Todor Zhivkov," McEldowny also says in the cable, pointing out the current Prime Minister has "alleged ties with underworld figures".

Full text of the cable can be read HERE.

The text in English has also been published at the Balkanleaks site, an analogue of the notorious whistle-blowing WikiLeaks, as well as in the site for investigative journalism,


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Tags: Volen Siderov, Turkish, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Ataka, GERB, Boyko Borisov

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