Turkey’s Ambassador to Bulgaria Voices Dissatisfaction with Border Fence

Diplomacy | May 31, 2015, Sunday // 13:09|  views

Turkey’s Ambassador to Bulgaria Suleyman Gokce, photo by BGNES

Turkey’s Ambassador to Bulgaria Suleyman Gokce has expressed dissatisfaction with the 30-kilometer border fence and the declaration of the Parliament on the fate of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

In a Sunday interview for the Bulgarian National Television, Gokce noted that it was not of great importance that the declaration of the Bulgarian Parliament from April 24, 2015 did not use the word “genocide” as it was rather a matter of a semantic debate.

The declaration approved by Bulgaria’s National Assembly refers to the “mass extermination” of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the 1910s and early 1920s.

“The Bulgarian Parliament was the only Parliament to adopt such a decision and this cannot be underestimated. Two other countries, Austria and Bolivia, also adopted declarations to that end, but they are not neighbors of Turkey,” he stated, as cited by dnevnik.bg.

Regarding the barbed wire fence along the Bulgarian-Turkish border, aimed at stemming the surge in refugees, Gokce acknowledged that Bulgaria was a sovereign country that was free to make decisions on its own, adding that the wall created discontent.

Turkey’s Ambassador to Bulgaria argued that the border fence gave rise to thoughts about the political message that this act was sending.

Gokce emphasized that the number of refugees in Bulgaria was below 10 000, with more than 50% of the total having entered the country from Greece, yet there had been no idea to build a fence on that border.

He pointed out that there were 2 million refugees in Turkey and that Bulgaria would be facing much larger numbers of refugees without the cooperation between the two countries in the sphere.

Gokce claimed that it was precisely the partnership between Bulgaria and Turkey and not the border fence that had led to a reduction in refugee numbers.

He said that he had not yet met with Bulgaria’s new Ambassador to Turkey, Nadezhda Neynski, whom he described as a person enjoying a good reputation, respect, and recognition in Turkey.

Gokce also referred to Neynski as an experienced diplomat.

He said that although it was important for Turkey to fulfill EU membership requirements, the decision on its EU accession was political.

Gokce suggested that Bulgaria and Greece were the countries that were most interested in making sure that Turkey was admitted into the EU.

He went on to say that Turkey would be visited by around 1.5 million Bulgarians in 2015, while at least 750 000 Turkish citizens would arrive in Bulgaria over the same period.

Gokce informed that Turkey boasted some 42 million tourists a year and was sixth in the world by this indicator, adding that the success of the local tourist product was attributable to creativity and hard work.

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Tags: Ottoman Empire, Armenian Genocide, BORDER FENCE, Bulgarian-Turkish border, Turkish Ambassador, Suleyman Gokce, refugee influx


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