Bulgarian Parliament Honors Genocide Victims

SOFIA, Bulgaria–The Bulgarian Parliament honored the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide with a moment of silence when it convened for its April 24 plenary meeting, after a proposal made by the Parliament Chairman Georgi Pirinski, Focus News Agency informed. Several parliament members came out in favor of adopting a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, but these calls were opposed by Bulgaria’s ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms. Member of Parliament Rupen Kirkoryan, who is on the ticket of Simeon II National Movement (SIINM), suggested that the memory of the killed Armenian citizens be honored with a minute of silence. When the Parliament fell silent, all MRF representatives demonstratively left the room. Their act enraged the opposition and Boyko Vatev from the Bulgarian National Union said that it was about time the Bulgarian Parliament adopted a declaration condemning the Armenian genocide. Vatev said adoption of such a declaration and Turkey’s possible decision to reread the events of the 19th and 20th century would introduce a European climate in the bilateral relationships between Bulgaria and Turkey. It would also help Turkey advance in its EU accession plans. The leader of nationalists Ataka (Attack) urged the parliament to officially recognize the events in Armenia as Genocide just as nine European countries have already done. "This genocide has to be accepted by the Bulgarian Parliament, but I doubt that the majority would do so," Siderov said. "There is a party in the ruling majority that protects the interests of Turkey and this party is MRF," he added. "The representatives of this party are not here and did not honor the memory of a million and a half Armenia’s." MRF deputy-head Lyutvi Mestan tried to move the subject with a suggestion for a declaration showing "compassion with the tragedy of all nations and groups of people that had been victims of violence." Mestan said that Bulgaria’s Parliament had no right to assume the powers of an institution that "gives away historical evaluations of events that haven’t received consensus and categorical evaluation from historians."

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