Referendum to be held in Bulgaria on whether to cancel daily 10-minute news broadcasts in Turkish on national television

Thursday, December 17, 2009

There are a few articles on this in Turkish, and here's one. In some cases I'm not usually opposed to fairly strict laws on the use of language (such as in Quebec), but internet usage in Bulgaria is still pretty low (36.7%; only Cyprus and Romania are lower), low enough that one could make the argument that daily news broadcasts on TV are still a very important way for many people to get their news. Bring internet usage up to about 60% and it would be far less important. Apparently Turkish PM Erdoğan spoke to his counterpart on the phone about this, and given Turkey's recent approval of Kurdish language broadcasts on national TV it must be nice to be able to bring up the subject without coming across as hypocritical.

Here's part of the article.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Borissov and the majority GERB party (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, Граждани за европейско развитие на България) have given their support for a referendum on  Turkish news briefs on state television. He held a news conference with the far right Ataka Party (Национален съюз Атака) leader Volen Siderov. Siderov said that the needed signatures of 48 elected members for a referendum had been completed. The Ataka Party has 21 members in the parliament. Borissov said that solving the dispute with a referendum would be the most democratic solution.

Siderov, who has campaigned against the daily ten-minute news briefs in Turkish for five years, said that "The official language of Bulgaria is Bulgarian. There is no room on state television for Turkish." Other marginal groups in the country have also been against broadcasts in Turkish.


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