Anadolu Agency: Balkan Turks Slam DPS's Nationalist Candidate PickDomestic | February 28, 2017, Tuesday // 12:16| views
Slavi Binev, a former nationalist who has served as both MP and MEP and who sparked controversy with a clerical title a few years ago, has now joined the DPS. File photo, BGNES
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) has come under fire for nominating two former members of far-right Ataka party for the upcoming general election in Bulgaria, Anadolu Agency writes.
The DPS is not an ethnic party in itself, but purports to represent minorities (including that of ethnic Turks and Roma) in Bulgaria, and its election tickets and leadership are normally dominated by Bulgarian Turks. Ethnic parties are barred under the Constitution.
Last week, Kamen Petkov of Ataka and Slavi Binev - who left the party in 2011 to join the Patriotic Front in a few years - announced they were now on DPS tickets.
Binev's former organization, the Patriotic Front, supported the previous government, which hinged on its votes in the legislature to secure a majority. The PF has repeatedly lashed out at the DPS, labeling it as a "pro-Turkish party" alongside DOST, which was formed by ex-DPS head Lyutvi Mestan last year.
Anadolu quotes Zurfettin Hacıoğlu, president of the Balkan Rumeli Turks Confederation, as saying the nominations were "the biggest insult" to Turkish and Muslim communities in Bulgaria.
“These people are nominated from the area where our Pomak brothers are living...“Nominating former members of [Ataka], who are hostile to Turkish people, by the votes of Turkish people, is another way of saying to them ‘Do not vote for this political party’.”
Anadolu's publication comes against the backdrop of the first parliamentary election in which the DPS and DOST are to compete for MP seats directly.
The DPS sees DOST, whose leader Mestan has met Turkish President Erdogan more than once over the last few years, as close to the ruling party in Ankara.
DOST, on the other hand, is highly critical of the DPS which it portrays as a tool of the oligarchy, a symbol of the status quo and a force seeking to push Bulgaria away from its Euro-Atlanticist path.