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30 Mart 2023

The double standard for Bulgarian minorities

19 December 2017

In recent days one of the main subjects of conversation in Bulgaria is the following: the rights to education in mother tongue for Bulgarian minorities abroad. There were certain law changes in Ukraine recently that limited education in the mother tongue of the minorities which was highly controversial in Bulgaria.

President Radev's hard work and stand on the topic was intriguing. Radev stated: "if we loose touch with this generation they will in time loose their Bulgarian identity"

Shortly after, Albania's similar treatment of minority rights also became controversial in Bulgaria. Bilateral talks between Bulgarian and Albanian Prime Ministers, consultations, meetings of the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, letters sent by Bulgarian MPs about the issue, and signing campaigns that they have organized, Albania recognized the Bulgarian minority and made them have the desired rights.
As a result of the new decision taken by the Bulgarians for 10 years and according to the effort they want:

- A Bulgarian college can be built
- A church school in Tirana has been available for three years with 100 children and 70 adult attendees.
- Bulgarian associations will be established.
- A Bulgarian party can be established.
- National minorities will be given the right to speak in their mother tongue with local authorities.
- In addition to street names, topographies and topographical information written in Albanian, they now can also be written in the mother tongue of the minority.
- Institutions will be provided with information in the mother tongue of minorities.

But as we see Bulgaria make efforts so passionately for its compatriot minorities, one might ask if the same program goes for the minorities in their own country.

- Minorities do not have their own school anywhere in Bulgaria.
- Despite the efforts and desire of the Turkish minority, whose population is close to 1 million, for many years, education in mother tongue is not considered compulsory. The fact that the mother tongue in the Education Law is defined as an elective course and that the number of children who study Turkish due to irregularities such as being placed in the same order as the choreography course is the biggest influence.
- National minorities do not have the right to speak in native language with local authorities.
- Street names and topographic information are written in Bulgarian as well as English only. The fact that Kardzhali's name is Turkish was widely known. Also widely known are the efforts of Ataka party leader Siderov to change the name of the city to Delovgrad. Likewise, Rila proposed to change the summit of the mountain because it was also Turkish.
- It is forbidden, even impossible, to obtain information in the mother tongue of minorities in institutions. Treatment in aged institutions that do not speak Bulgarian is even against human rights.
- Propaganda in the mother tongue during the election campaign, despite the European Convention on Human Rights, is prohibited. Otherwise, a fine is in place.

Bulgaria, as it does for Bulgarians abroad, does not make an effort for minorities in its own land, even more so, violates their rights.

That's called a double standard.

We want to be equal citizens in this country, to worship, to speak our language, to live our culture freely.


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