Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva told Parliament on April 10 that the country’s reaction to a claim by her Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu that Ankara had intervened in the Religious Denominations Act amendments had been appropriate and acute.
Presenting a demarche to Turkey was the most acute reaction, Zaharieva said. Bulgaria had given clear diplomatic signals to Turkey, she said.
“The policy, which the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry follows and will follow in the future, is on the same footing, non-interference in domestic politics. As we should not interfere, we do not want any state to interfere with us in domestic politics. and before elections to rally the electorate and get votes.”
Zaharieva’s appearance in the National Assembly was at the request of the United Patriots, the nationalist minority partner in government.
Çavuşoğlu’s statement about intervention in the Religious Denominations Act amendments, which defer the debts of religious groups – mainly, Bulgaria’s Muslim minority – caused a political storm in Bulgaria. Zaharieva summoned the Turkish ambassador to hand over a formal note of protest, and Prime Minister Boiko Borissov took up the matter with Turkey’s Vice President, though to no avail.
Zaharieva noted that a visit by Çavuşoğlu planned for April 9 had been postponed, with no date set.
“I want to believe that such statements will not happen in the future and that this will not prevent good relations between our two countries.”
Valeri Simeonov, leader of one of the nationalist parties, said that urgent consultations would be held between the United Patriots and GERB to come up with a joint declaration on Çavuşoğlu’s statement by the end of the week./ibna