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Bulgaria Threatens to Strip Bursa Consul of Diplomatic Status.

Bulgaria's foreign ministry has threatened to strip of diplomatic status the country's honorary consul in the Turkish town of Bursa following his arrest over alleged illegal trade in historical artefacts.

"The implication of a Bulgarian honorary consul in a scandal like this one is unacceptable. Should Mr Hayati Korkmaz be proven guilty, his diplomatic status will be reconsidered and revoked," reads a statement of the foreign ministry.

Hayati Korkmaz, who moved to Turkey from Bulgaria in 1973, has been detained in a police operation, which was launched in March to track down channels for illegal trade in valuable artefacts.

The police raid covered the provinces of Bursa, EskiAehir and other cities. Thirty people have been arrested so far, including the coach of EskiAehirspor football club and his wife.

The detainees will face the court on Friday.

Hayati Korkmaz was born in the Bulgarian town of Ardino. After emigrating to Turkey he worked as a manager in the trade company Mo-Bu and published articles on political issues in the Eko Haber weekly.

He is one of the most prominent public figures in Turkey, former member of the country's Grand National Assembly and Bulgaria's honorary consul in the Turkish town of Bursa since 2004.
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Publication:Sofia News Agency
Geographic Code:4EXBU
Date:Dec 30, 2010
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