PM Erdogan in Bulgaria to booost bilateral ties
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is visiting neighboring Bulgaria today for official talks in a bid to improve bilateral ties. During his one-day visit, Erdogan is scheduled to meet with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov to discuss issues of mutual interest to strengthen ties. A comprehensive exchange of views on regional developments and international affairs with a special emphasis on the Balkans, along with bilateral issues, will take place during their meeting. Erdogan will also meet with Ahmet Dogan, the ethic Turkish Bulgarian leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (HOH) party, and former Bulgarian Chief Mufti Mustafa Alish Hadzhi. Mass protests were recently sparked when Bulgaria appointed a former spy and retired lieutenant colonel to the mufti post, replacing Hadzhi, who was elected by the Muslim community. Erdogan is also expected to discuss the issue with his counterpart. Ties were ruffled this January, when Bojidar Dimitrov, a minister without portfolio who runs the Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, committed a gaffe by saying Turkey should pay tens of billions of dollars in compensation to Bulgarians who left Thrace early in the 20th century. Turkey protested the claim, warning it could harm bilateral ties.