Bulgaria condemns communist Turkish assimilation






The Daily News, January 11 2012

Bulgaria’s parliament adopted on Wednesday a special declaration condemning the forcible assimilation of the country’s sizeable Turkish minority under communism.
The declaration specifically centred on the so-called “revival process” in the mid-1980s when Bulgaria’s ethnic Turks were forced to change their Muslim names to Bulgarian ones.
Those who refused to do so were jailed and many killed, sparking several deadly attacks in public places and straining relations between Bulgaria and Turkey.
Shortly before communism fell in 1989, the authorities opened the borders to those Bulgarian citizens of Turkish origin who wanted to emigrate to Turkey. Around 360,000 people left, 170,000 of whom later returned.
Their exodus, dubbed with some irony in Bulgaria the “Big Excursion,” was condemned on Wednesday by MPs as “a form of ethnic cleansing performed by the totalitarian regime.” The declaration called for those responsible for the “revival process” to be brought to justice and punished.
“The attempt to cover it up with a statute of limitations transfers the guilt from the concrete culprits to the whole Bulgarian people,” it added.
About 13 percent of Bulgaria’s current population of 7.3 million are Muslims, with most belonging to the ethnic Turkish minority.
A recent study found they were increasingly becoming less religious even if practising traditional rituals enthusiastically.

The Declaration Adopted in the National Assembly of Bulgaria Concerning the Forced Assimilation Process Implemented to the Muslim Bulgarians*
(January 11, 2012, Sofia)

By addressing to the European and global notion and to the highest acquisitions of international law in the field of human rights and minority rights,
By addressing to the European Convention of Human Rights and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,
By expressing the distress caused by the Bulgarian judicial system’s disability to punish the responsible parties for the attempt of the forced assimilation process implemented to the Bulgarian Muslims during the 20 years’ time from the beginning of the democratic reform process, including the so called “Revival Process”,
By stating our absolute belief regarding these kind of crimes are not due to statutory period of limitations.

We, the Members of Parliament of the 41st National Assembly declare;

1. We condemn vociferously the assimilation process implemented to the Muslim minority living in the Republic of Bulgaria, including the so called “Revival Process”, by the totalitarian communist regime.
2. We declare the expulsion of more than 360.000 Turkish descendant Bulgarian citizens from the country in 1989 as an act of ethnic cleansing committed by the totalitarian regime.
3. We invite the Bulgarian justice and the Attorney General of Republic of Bulgaria to make every effort necessary to finalize the case started against the offenders of the so called “Revival Process”. Efforts to cover this up by statutory prescription are shifting the blame on the Bulgarian people from the real perpetrator.


• The text of the Declaration had been taken from the website of the Blue Coalition and translated to English from Bulgarian unofficially, and also to English from its Turkish translation.

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