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Bulgaria's Top Diplomat Backs Lifting Visas for Turkish Expats.

Bulgaria would only benefit from the lifting of the visa regime for Turkish expats, according to Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikolay Mladenov.

Mladenov spoke during the so-called Friday parliamentary control when Ministers answer questions from the Members of the Parliament.

His statement came in response to an inquiry from Chetin Kazak, MP from the opposition ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, regarding gratis visas issued to a group of expats from Turkey in September 2012.

Mladenov, however, admitted that the lifting of the regime, even though considered, is not yet possible. He explained there will be alleviated visa issuing for youth and children.

On September 14, Deputy Prime Minister, and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, and GERB MP, Tsveta Karayancheva, held a meeting with members of the Turkish expat organization "Bulturk." According to Kazak, some of them have been issued gratis visas.

The DPS MP voiced alarm this has been done after the Foreign Ministry has denied his appeal to alleviate visa regime for Turkish expats.

Mladenov explained the 6 gratis visas were granted on Karayancheva's request.

"I would react the same way to a request from any MP. Such gratis visas are issued every time a State institution wants them. The Bulgarian State has the responsibility to take care of expats in Turkey, particularly since the Communist regime's revival process, forcing them to change their Muslim names with Christian ones, chased them away. Our goal must be for all political parties to reach these people; they do not belong to just one party; they are not its slaves. Our Constitution does not divide people on ethnic grounds," Mladenov adamantly stated.

He blamed the previous Socialist-led Three-Way Coalition Cabinet, which included DPS, for failing to resolve the issue.
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Publication:Sofia News Agency
Date:Oct 19, 2012
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