Kasim Dal - Another Dissident or the End of Bulgaria's Ethnic Turkish 'Backseat' Rule?Editorial |Author: Maria Guineva | January 21, 2011, Friday // 17:27| views
In the midst of all spying scandals raging in Bulgaria, an outrage is shaking the unshakable ethnic Turkish party DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms).
Kasim Dal, one of the major figures in the party, not only left its leadership, but slammed party founder and leader Ahmed Dogan, calling for his resignation.
Can Dal make history and topple the irreplaceable Dogan, seen by many as the most sinister and conniving political personage of Bulgaria's transition period?
Over the years, many of Dogan's closest allies and party cofounders quit DPS ranks, living the leader unfazed, and, (according to his own claims), ruling the country from the backseat. Kasim Dal is, however, another story.
He is more articulate and with a much stronger personal presence compared to other DPS leaders and particularly to Dogan. But there is much more about Dal.
In addition to Dogan, he was the only remaining original founder of the Movement among current party leaders.
Dogan and Dal met in prison while serving sentences for participating in a then illegal organization against the so-called Revival Process (the times when Todor Zhivkov's Communist regime forcefully changed ethnic Turks' Muslim names with Christian ones, causing mass exodus to neighboring Turkey).
Unlike many others in DPS, including Dogan, Dal has never been a member of the Bulgarian Communist Party; he was never involved with the Communist State Security (DS); for his 20 years in politics there has never been a scandal or slander discrediting his name and not a single party event without his presence.
Dal was the DPS moving force; the one who organized local party structures; the person securing election victories; the leader going around villages to talk to common people and attending plenary hall debates. He is known for working hard and fulfilling his promises.
Dal was also the party member in charge of dealing with ties with Turkey, the Bulgarian ethnic Turkish communities there and with the Turkish business. He is credited for bringing a major investor to the city of Targovishte (which has a large Muslim population) – the Turkish glass factory "Shishe Dzham."
Dal is the person behind the State Security Files Act, which he wrote knowing it would hit hard on many, including Dogan. He was the one from the DPS leadership to attend the funeral of Ahmed Emin when the latter, allegedly, committed suicide in the fall of 2008.
Of course, Dal is not a crystal clean hero. What he now says about Dogan and the isolation of the Movement did not come as a sudden revelation to him; he has known it for many years. Nevertheless, he still deserves praise for being the person from the party's helm to finally have the guts to officially state publically known truths – that Dogan is a DS project; that he has used politics to amass huge wealth; that he must be condemned for almost never setting foot in the Parliament during his four consecutive terms.
Dal has stated numerous times he has no intentions of splitting the party. Despite being already expelled from the DPS parliamentary group, he maintains his allegiance to the Movement.
Dal's decision may be delayed by years, but it is not too late. The DPS official reaction, combined with his resolution to lead the battle from within party ranks could be the beginning of Dogan's end. Regardless of official statements of common party supporters in small villages or those with high-ranking party positions, Dal might gather the needed support to overthrow the "undying" ethnic Turkish leader.
History has plenty of examples that no one is eternal in politics. It is enough to remember the stunned face of almighty Communist Dictator, Todor Zhivkov, when his closest allies, fellow party members and subordinates told him he had been ousted after 35 years in power.
Dogan must go and hopefully Kasim Dal will be able to achieve what many before have failed in.
There is, however, a flip side of this story - Dal's strongest card and the source of his courage, according to many, is the fact that during his official visit to Sofia in October 2010, Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, refused to meet with Ahmed Dogan and chose to talk to Dal instead. According to the latter, Erdogan explained his decision with learning about the scandals surrounding the DPS leader's wealth and his ties with DS.
It is alarming to realize that Dogan's head might finally roll mostly because of the influence and the interference of the leader of a foreign State. If Dal succeeds, would Bulgarian ethnic Turks continue to be pulled towards Turkey and to an allegiance to the Turkish State?
With Dogan gone from Bulgarian politics, parties founded on ethnic and religious basis must go too.
Because the common, honest, poor and hard-working Bulgarian Muslims who chose to stay in the country deserve something much better – they deserve to feel at home in Bulgaria and among Bulgarians.
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