Party expels Bulgarian Turkish politician from leadership

Party expels Bulgaria’s opposition party leader Lyutvi Mestan from his post for backing Turkey over downed Russian plane

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Lyutvi Mestan, expelled president of Movement for Rights and Freedoms of Bulgaria

Updated Dec 25, 2015

Head of Bulgaria's centrist political party, Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), Lyutvi Mestan has been removed from both leadership and the party, the press release said on Thursday.

He is expelled for defending Turkey over the downing of the Russian plane in parliament last month.

Velislava Krasteva, a spokeswoman of DPS, said that Mestan is dismissed from his position and expelled from the party by a unanimous decision at a meeting in Ahmet Dogan's villa.

Ahmed Dogan, the founder and honorary head of DPS said that "this would be the fate of everyone who stands up against Bulgaria's national interests," Krasteva told reporters.

Mestan said later in a statement that "Bulgaria's national interest has been connected with the EU and NATO for years now, and not with Russia."

He said that the declaration he made to parliament was adopted by the party's parliamentary group and showed DPS' support for NATO values.

He told AA that defending Turkey was not a mistake.

"You support a neighbour and friendly country from NATO's perspective...We are setting the balance right. We are not an objective country. We are not Serbia. Serbia is not a member of NATO. It can see itself in between Russia and NATO and can look for a balance but Bulgaria must see itself as a member of NATO first of all. I told the party's attitude regarding the Russian plane incident," Mestan said.

He has said last month in parliament that “The violation of the airspace and sovereignty of any NATO member state was a violation of the sovereignty and airspace of the alliance.”

He has also reminded that Russia was previously given many official warnings.

DPS polls around 13 percent with the support of ethnic Turkish and Romani minorities in Bulgaria, a member state of both European Union and NATO.

The party will be run by the presidency board of three until its ordinary congress in March.

It holds 36 seats out of 240 in the Bulgarian Parliament.

TRTWorld and agencies