34th anniversary of forced migration

Tue, 30 May 2023 9:02 GMT
The pain caused by the assimilation attempts against Turks and Muslims in Bulgaria was not forgotten.
34th anniversary of forced migration

AA correspondent compiled the process leading to the migration, due to the 34th anniversary of the forced migration from Bulgaria to Türkiye, with the statements of the officials of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (HÖH) Party, which is defined as the “May Events” and commemorates that period every year with a ceremony.

While the assimilation attempts intensified in the last period of the communist regime that came to power in Bulgaria in 1944 with the support of the former Soviet Union (USSR), the determined resistance of the Turks and Muslims was instrumental in the fall of this regime.

Those days, which are defined as “May Events” every year, are commemorated with ceremonies under the auspices of the MRF Party, whose members are mostly Turks and Muslims.

The atrocities of the old regime, which tried to ban the religious practices of Turks and Muslims, change their names with Bulgarian names, and even forbade them to speak Turkish, are not mentioned in the history books, which ended 34 years ago.

The ideas of assimilation were never punished, as did not go beyond the condemnation statement made in the parliament.

The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), which carries out politics along the lines of the former communist party, continues its efforts to find criminals in the political and legal arena.

Nearly 400,000 Turks and Muslims took refuge in Türkiye during the forced migration in 1989.

The assimilation attempts of the Bulgarian communists were made in 1964, 1971-1973, 1982, 1984-1985, but the atrocities reached their peak in 1989.

In 1985, a secret organization was established for the resistance of Turks and Muslims under the leadership of Ahmet Doğan, the current Honorary President of HÖH in Bulgaria.

32 leaders of this organization of about 200 people were arrested and imprisoned. They continued their struggle from prison and prepared the first protests that began in 1989 in northeastern Bulgaria.

Because of the protests, the dictator of the time, Todor Jivkov, opened the border gates towards neighboring Türkiye to Turks and Muslims who refused to renounce their religion.

Nearly 400 thousand Turks and Muslims took refuge in Türkiye during the forced migration organized in the summer of 1989, which the former communists called the “Great Journey”.

The names of more than 850 thousand Muslims who remained in Bulgaria, which had a population of 8 million at that time, were forcibly changed.

The regime was overthrown on November 10, 1989, when the assimilation of the Zhivkov regime to make Moscow liked it failed.

Court process

Muslims in Bulgaria sued those responsible for what happened in 1991. Former dictator Zhivkov, former Interior Minister Dimitar Stoyanov, former Foreign Minister Petar Mladenov and former Prime Minister Georgi Atanasov were accused in the case, which is still ongoing. None of these defendants are alive anymore.

More than 130 eyewitnesses who immigrated to various countries, especially Türkiye, were asked to take their statements regarding the case, which was still not closed but did not progress.

Within the scope of the case, some of the defendants, with different claims, won the small-scale compensation cases they filed.

In a statement accepted by the Bulgarian Parliament on January 11, 2012, the deputies said, “We define the deportation of more than 360,000 Bulgarian citizens in 1989 as an ‘ethnic cleansing attempt’.” had used the phrase.

“May Events” and commemorations

The resistance against the regime, known as the “May Events”, started on May 19-27, 1989, with the participation of 30,000 people in the Kaolinovo region in northeastern Bulgaria. 9 peaceful and unarmed protesters were killed and hundreds were detained as a result of the Bulgarian militia firing.

The most comprehensive commemoration events, which have been traditionally held in the second half of May for 33 years in the country, are held in the northeast of the country in Demir Baba Lodge, Pristoe, Medovetz villages and Ruen district.

In his speech at the rally held in Medovets (Sarıkovanlı) village of Varna province on 28 May, MRF Chairman Mustafa Karadayı said, “We have been protecting democracy in Bulgaria for 33 years.” said.

Underlining that these events are not told in the history books of the country, Karadayı said, “The May Events are only mentioned in our squares and rallies. The genocidal process of ‘return to descent’ began in 1964 in the Western Rhodope Mountains, with the forcible renaming of people.” used the phrase.

Explaining that HÖH Party Honorary President Ahmet Doğan founded the party on January 4, 1990, Karadayı said, “We have been representing Bulgaria’s democracy emblem for 33 years. We have only one mission: to protect the integrity and democracy of Bulgaria.” he said.

HÖH Deputy Chairman Ahmet Ahmedov told Anadolu Agency, “Living in unity is our common destiny. On this land, we share both our happiness and our pain for our homeland, Bulgaria.” said.

Emphasizing that they came together to commemorate the martyrs and veterans in this holy place, Ahmedov said, “If we can freely recite our prayers, perform our prayers, and bear our own names, we owe our martyrs for all these. Some of them paid the price with their health, some with their freedom, and some by sacrificing their lives.”


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