Last modified: 2006-06-09 by rob raeside
Keywords: bulgarian turk | ethnic minority: bulgaria |
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by Ivan Sache
Editorial Note: The flag above is shown in the Aspirant Peoples chart as the flag of Turkish Bulgarians. As noted below, this is in reality a political flag of a Turkish political party. The information below provides some information about the political environment in Bulgaria around the time of the fall of the communist government.
The flag shown above is also not a flag of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria, as they have no flag. It is the flag of the biggest Turkish political party in Bulgaria. Bulgarian Turks do not use the flag of Turkey, because of the sensibilities of the Bulgarians; usually they use the Bulgarian flag and the flags of their respective parties.
Ivan Marinov, 23 February 2000
The chart Flags of Aspirant Peoples shows this as a white field with two thin red stripes on the upper and lower edges of the flag.
Toward the end of the communist era (1980's), Turkish Bulgarians were forcibly "Bulgarized", i.e. they and their villages received "pure" Bulgarian names. After the fall of communism, there was some population exchange between Bulgaria and Turkey, the most famous case being the "purchase" by Turkey of the weightlifter Naim Selmanoglu. So I don't know what kind of status this flag could have had. Turkish Bulgarians are now represented by official political parties.
Ivan Sache, 14 September 1999
For corrected information, see below
Forced Bulgarisation of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria started in summer 1984. By then there were 700.000 - 1.000.000. There were clashes between Bulgarians (troops, villagers) and members of the Turkish minority. On 10 May 1989 travel restrictions to foreign countries were partly lifted. End of May grave disturbances in regions inhabited by members of the Turkish minority. Todor Zhivkov
gave a speech on 29 May 1989, in which he demanded that Turkey open its borders in order to receive all
"Bulgarian Muslims", who wanted to live there. Thereupon followed an exodus till August 1989 of over 300.000 Bulgaro-Turks to Turkey. On 10 November 1989 Zhivkov was replaced by Peter Mladenow and by the end of that year communism fell.
(Source: Fischer Weltalmanach 1986-1991)
Jarig Bakker, 21 February 2000
I was there in Bulgaria, when this occurred. There was a big emigration of about 300,000 Turkish people between 1987-1989. I remember big masses of Turkish people, even in Sofia - where there is no significant Turkish minority - waiting at police stations for passports. In some places in Bulgaria, there was even forced emigration. Emigration ceased in the summer of 1989, when Turkey closed its frontiers for Bulgarian citizens of Turkish nationality.
Ivan Marinov, 22 February 2000