World Bulletin / News Desk
A new Bulgarian party that brings together minority groups, including ethnic Turks, elected a leader at its first congress Sunday.
Lyutvi Mestan, the sole candidate, was unanimously chosen as the leader of the Democrats for Responsibility, Freedom and Tolerance (DOST). More than 1,100 delegates also voted on the party’s executive and charter.
Mestan, who previously led the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), vowed to defend the rights of all minorities in Bulgaria.
“DOST is established in the name of equal rights for all Bulgarian citizens, regardless of their language and religion,” the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) quoted Mestan as saying.
He said the new party would be a “pro-NATO and European party”.
Mestan, a lawmaker in the National Assembly, underlined the importance of teaching minority languages. “All citizens living in our country must know their mother tongue and speak it freely,” he said.
He also stressed the importance of Bulgaria’s relationship with Turkey, noting that Ankara had strongly supported Bulgaria’s NATO membership.
Fatma Betul Kaya, the deputy chairwoman of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, attended the congress, as did Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy Chairman Semih Yalcin and Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Ahmet Akin. Turkish, Ukrainian, Polish and French diplomats were also present.
Mestan was expelled from the MRF following a parliamentary speech in which he defended Turkey and NATO over the downing of a Russian warplane on the Turkey-Syria border in November.
Five other MRF lawmakers joined DOST alongside Mestan.Last Mod: 11 Nisan 2016, 09:05