Row between Turkey, Bulgaria Cities Threatens to Cut EU Cross-Border Funding

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | March 15, 2016, Tuesday // 12:14| Views: | Comments: 5
Bulgaria: Row between Turkey, Bulgaria Cities Threatens to Cut EU Cross-Border Funding File photo, EPA/BGNES

Three Bulgarian municipalities will have their access to cross-border EU funding cut as Turkey has banned any partnership with them, private bTV station reported.

Haskovo, Burgas and Svilengrad, municipalities whose central cities lie near the border with Turkey, have been barred from cooperating with local authorities in Edirne, the Turkish municipality on the other side of the border, as Ankara has prohibited that they work together.

Edirne Mayor Recep G?rkan has told bTV that the Foreign Ministry of Turkey had explicitly forbidden any interaction with Haskovo due to what it perceives as a controversial position about the mass killings of Armenians in the 20th century. Separately, the local administrations of Haskovo and Burgas earlier adopted statements deploring the "Armenian genocide".

Last April, the sister cities of Haskovo and Edirne froze ties over the decision of Haskovo that the park will bear the name "Armenians".

Local authorities in Haskovo decided to rename the park in the days when Armenians around the world were marking a centenary since the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire began (and which lawmakers in Sofia voted to call "mass extermination", but not "genocide").

Mayor G?rkan then called the decision of Haskovo a result of a "unilateral, selective and divisive view of a period that is tragic for the entire population of the Ottoman Empire."

Now he can be heard suggesting in bTV's report that the respective local administrations should reverse their decisions as "Yambol did". Yambol is another municipality located at the Bulgaria-Turkey border with which cooperation was suspended, but then restored.

However, Haskovo Mayor Dobri Belivanov is adamant that "no-one can interfere" to make authorities change the name of a street or a park. (The decision to name a park "Armenians" was taken under his predecessor, Georgi Ivanov.)

As an external border of the EU, Bulgaria is part of the bloc's cross-border program whose total worth for the 2014-2020 is an estimated EUR 1 B.

A total of EUR 11 M potentially available to the three regions of Bulgaria under the cross-border cooperation program. As regards Turkey, the bulk of this sum has been earmarked for environment preservation and disaster management.

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Tags: haskovo, Burgas, Svilengrad, Edirne, Yambon, turkey, Bulgaria, Recep G?rkan, Armenians, genocide
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» To the forumComments (5)
Tania Oz - 20 Mar 2016 // 18:32:49

Oh and I forgot to say, it will make the Sultan even richer when he skims his 10% out of that 6 billion.

Tania Oz - 20 Mar 2016 // 18:30:12

And why weren't the EU leaders "community" talking about the Erdogan's ethnic cleansing of all things Kurd, covertly supporting IS and total repression of freedom of speech in Erdogan's Turkistan? All swept under the rug and instead, we'll just give him 6 billion euros anyway. Absolute hypocrites.

Ivailo Ivanov - 20 Mar 2016 // 01:32:01

Why the "international community" is not concerned about ethnic cleansing in Kurdistan in the same way as it was concerned when USA bombed the Serbs for Kosovo.. ??? May be the Saudis are not paying to USA's administration as they did for Kosovo.

Ivailo Ivanov - 20 Mar 2016 // 01:27:23

Now we know that there is absolutely no row between Turkish and Bulgarian cities. There was an order from the government of Erdogan to terminate the relationship at the same time when Europe under German pressure derided to give Turkey 6 billion for a very doubtful Turkish cooperation and certainly to cover Turkish expenses in their massive repression in the Kurdish regions. Repression that is short of ethnic cleansing.

Ivailo Ivanov - 16 Mar 2016 // 22:42:20

All Eu countries are heavily indebted and they are dependent on the western banking system that operates like machine without soul and brain. In this system a privileged political puppets have power to impose decisions that are not theirs on the rest of Europe. These are not approved supported and liked by the people of Europe. It is how it happens that maniacs that never gave birth to a child (like Merkel) will take vital decisions for the children of the others.. The German pressure to put Turkey in EU is one of this vital decisions.

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