Bulgaria: Ethnic Turk Politicians to Form Rival Party

Kasim Dal, a former close ally of Bulgarian ethnic Turkish leader Ahmed Dogan, has indicated that he will form a new political party.Dal plans to form the party alongside independent MP Korman Ismailov. Both men were previously members of the ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms, which is led by Dogan.Ismailov made the announcement on Monday, in a move that has been widely anticipated for months.

“The actions and principles that we will be basing our future political actions are to pursue good and clear goals with good means,” Ismailov told Bulgarian National Radio on Monday.

He added that their new political party “will not be a duplicate of the DPS.”

“We will do anything possible to get off this track. We will avoid all those things that led to feudalization, concentration of power, and totalitarian rule [in DPS]. This will be a platform for people’s participation regardless of ethnic and religious origin. Our goal is to cover the entire country even though our strongest support comes from the regions that know Kasim Dal and me well,” Ismailov explained.

Both Dal and Ismailov left the DPS in January 2011 after scandals caused by a conflict between Dal and Dogan.

After some two decades of close political and personal friendship, including with respect to the establishment of local DPS organisations all over Bulgaria, Dal criticized Dogan publicly for the latter’s alleged involvement with the DS, the secret police and intelligence of the Bulgarian communist regime.

The formal reason for his rift with Dogan was criticism of the way the long-standing leader was running the party.

After Dal was excommunicated by the DPS leadership, he was joined by Ismailov, a former head of the youth organization of the DPS party, who left the party and became an independent member of the Bulgarian Parliament.

Ismailov said he and Dal will bring together an initiative committee in September that will organize an assembly to found the new political party.

“The party will be funded entirely according to the law. We will rely mostly on members’ contributions but we hope for good results in the next elections in order to be able to qualify for a state subsidy,” he added.

The DPS has played a key role in the political landscape since the fall of Bulgaria’s one-party system in 1989. Until 2009, the party was a junior partner in the Socialist-led government

Ahmed Dogan is one of the most controversial politicians in Bulgaria and his party has often been accused of involvement in questionable business activities.

In 2010, he was acquitted of conflict of interest charges concerning payments he had received as an energy consultant. He denied any wrongdoing.

Turks make up about 10 per cent of the population of Bulgaria.

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