Kardzhali Ottoman Liberator Designated for Highest Bulgarian Order
An initiative committee has launched a petition to award posthumously to Gen. Vasil Delov the country's highest order Stara Planina.
The Committee has been established by the Member of the Parliament from the ruling party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, Tsveta Karayancheva.
The petition has been started Sunday evening in the southern city of Kardzhali and has been sent to Gen. Delov's hometown of Kotel.
The issue revolves around the intention of the local authorities to award posthumously an Honorary Citizen title to Gen. Vasil Delov, as part of Bulgaria's celebration of the 100th anniversary since the start of the Balkan War in October 1912, in which Bulgarian troops liberated much of the Bulgarian-populated parts of the Southern Balkan Peninsula from the rule of the Ottoman Empire.
On Friday, the Bulgarian ethnic Turkish party DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) demanded that the posthumous award of Gen. Vasil Delov be dropped from the agenda of the City Council's celebratory session scheduled for Sunday, October 21, 2012.
On Saturday, councilors from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and from GERB threatened to leave the Sunday celebration if Delov's nomination is rejected.
The nomination was included as the last item on the Sunday agenda with 16 council people from BSP and GERB voting for it, and 22 from DPS abstaining, thus it was not approved.
Also on Saturday, representatives of the DPS party tabled to Mayor Hasan Azis, who is a member of DPS, a petition signed by 350 locals against the posthumous awarding of Gen. Delov, prompting GERB and BSP to declare the boycott.
The arguments of the ethnic Turkish party DPS for being against the honoring of the general, who is hailed by Bulgaria as Kardzhali's Liberator from Ottoman Turkey, read that "the memories of the Balkan War are still alive, they affect people living today, and there are unhealed wounds".
On Sunday, however, politicians from all parties, including nearly the entire DPS group, laid flowers and wreaths at the General's monument in the city and bowed in his honor.
"I am outraged and insulted that the people of Kardzhali had to witness this scandal. DPS put a black stain on the celebrations, instead of a wreath. I was convinced until the last minute that this city is a city of tolerance, as the Mayor insists, but now the doubt has been planted," Karayancheva says.
Meanwhile, the far-right, nationalist party VMRO announced they are staging Tuesday a protest rally in front of the DPS headquarters in Sofia over the issue with Gen. Delov. They demand the resignations of all DPS municipal councilors in Kardzhali, saying their behavior equals national treason.
VMRO are further asking for a meeting with Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, over the wave of ethnic and religious scandals in Bulgaria – the radical Islam trial in Pazardzhik, the young Roma deriding national heroes, and the separatist and anti-Bulgarian demonstrations of DPS in Kardzhali.
Gen. Vasil Delov, born in the mountain town of Kotel in 1859, then still in the Ottoman Empire, was a hero from the Serbian-Bulgarian War in 1885, and the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, which were fought by Bulgaria after much of its population was left outside of its territory under the 1878 Berlin Treaty.
During the First Balkan War, in which Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro fought their former conqueror, the Ottoman Empire, Delov commanded the Bulgarian forces that took over much of the Rhodoppe Mountains, including the liberation of Kardzhali. In 1913, he participated as a commander in the Battle or Siege of Adrianople.
During the Second Balkan War, in which Bulgaria was attacked simultaneously by Serbia, Greece, Romania, and Ottoman Turkey, Delov was a division commander in the southwest facing Greek forces.
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