Davutoglu discusses mufti crisis with Bulgarian counterpart
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had two separate telephone conversations with his Bulgarian counterpart, Nikolay Mladenov, on Sunday, in a bid to resolve a recent crisis in Bulgaria over the reappointment of a former spy and retired lieutenant colonel as chief mufti instead of the former mufti who was elected by the Muslim community, the Anatolia news agency reported late on Sunday. The report cited anonymous sources and did not elaborate on the content of the discussion between Davutoglu and Mladenov. Nedim Gendzhev, recently restored as chief mufti in Bulgaria, and his predecessor Mustafa Alish Hadzhi, have long been engaged in a dispute about the spiritual leadership of Bulgaria’s Muslim community. According to reports by Bulgarian media, in October 2009, the National Muslim Conference elected Mustafa Alish Hadzhi as chief mufti. However, Gendzhev appealed the conference’s vote and in May 2010 the Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassation decided to reinstate Gendzhev to the post. A majority of Bulgaria’s muftis insist Hadzhi is the only legally elected chief mufti in Bulgaria. Since May, Muslims have organized a wave of protests around the country in support of Hadzhi and against Gendzhev. Last Thursday, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov held a meeting with both Hadzhi and Gendzhev. According to reports, the possibility of calling a new National Muslim Conference was discussed at the meeting. Borisov, meanwhile, reportedly said that the government cannot intrude into the work of the judicial system.