Bulgaria's DPS Leader Requests Right of Reply in NY Times over 'Pro-Russian' Label

Domestic | January 6, 2015, Tuesday // 18:46|  views

Leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) Lyutvi Mestan. Photo: BGNES/EPA

The leader of Bulgaria's oppositional party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) Lyutvi Mestan requested a right of reply in New York Times due to a publication labeling his party as pro-Russian.

In a letter addressed to the editor-in-chief of New York Times, Mestan refers to the article entitled “How Putin Forged a Pipeline Deal That Derailed published on December 30, 2014.

Mestan pointed to the paragraph in which the authors of the article comment on the 2013 early parliamentary elections in Bulgaria.

According to them, the elections were in Putin's favour, as they produced a coalition government between two pro-Russian parties – the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and DPS.

Mestan dismissed the pro-Russian label of his party as being utterly incorrect and untrue.

He underlined that ever since its establishment on 4 January 1990 until today, DPS has been Bulgaria's most consistent Euro-Atlantic party.

Mestan disproves the authors of the article by submitting several arguments in favour of DPS's Euro-Atlantic stance.

According to him, DPS was the first party since the beginning of the country's transition from totalitarianism to democracy to declare its official party position on Bulgaria's accession to NATO as strategic priority of the country's foreign policy.

Mestan states that throughout the years the political behaviour of DPS has always been in compliance with this position.

He reminds that the then oppositional DPS was the only party to support the government of Prime Minister Ivan Kostov in granting air space for NATO to carry out its air strikes against Yugoslavia in 1999.

Mestan says that it was not coincidence that Bulgaria's accession to NATO happened in 2004 when DPS was part of the coalition government of Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Another argument in favour was the party's direct participation in the governance of the country in the 2001-2009 period when Bulgaria achieved its second strategic foreign policy priority – accession to the European Union (EU).

Mestan highlighted that DPS was again in power when Bulgaria joined the EU on 1 January 2007, this time as part of the triple coalition government of Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev.

As regards the South Stream pipeline, Mestan reminded that at a special press conference in 2014 he had announced that the project was possible only with the approval of Brussels and Bulgaria's Euro-Atlantic partners.

This was in stark contrast with the position of their coalition partners from BSP, who defended the thesis that the project should be carried out “despite Brussels”.

According to Mestan, DPS's position was later adopted by Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski and the work on the project was suspended until it would receive an approval from Brussels.

Mestan also dismisses the other definition used in the article, which labels DPS as the party of Bulgaria's Turkish minority.

He admitted that DPS represents the interests of Bulgarian minorities, but at the same time it appealed to all Bulgarian citizens who share the values of contemporary liberal democracy.

Mestan pointed that DPS was the first Bulgarian party to be admitted to the Liberal International and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

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Tags: Bulgaria, DPS, Lyutvi Mestan, New York Times, right of reply, pro-Russian, EU, NATO, Euro-Atlantic, BSP, South stream, Turkish, minority, Liberal international, ALDE


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