Page 44 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
Our predecessors were not out-migrants!
They were refugees!
They were slaughtered and those who survived were driven away, naked and
barefooted refugees. That was an ethnic cleansing. It suffices to recall 7
th
July 1913 in the
village of Bulgarkyoy: those gathered, voluntarily or by force, all men above 15 years of
age, in the convenient for an ambush vale at the Boydinov bridge, Enver pasha, the volley
of machine-guns and rifles, the male population shot, the village burnt down, the surviving
women and children driven away from their native land and accommodated in Bulgaria,
orphaned refugees.
These and numerous other cruel facts from the tragic 1913 confirm the right we have
for a priority discussion of the problems related to the period 1912–1925, rather than Ankara’s
claim to discuss these issues out of the period 1912–1925.
We appeal to the Bulgarian government to insist for the Angora treaty to be observed
in accordance with international law and keeping the chronology negotiated in the Treaty of
06.05.1992, which gives priority to the property issues
(30.04.2011).
Such a negative reaction against the categorisation‘out-migrants’is traced in the other target-
group too (the Turks from Bulgaria, migrants to Turkey). Looking for a term that would highlight the
politicalmotif of resettling isgovernedby thedesire toget recognition for theexceptional experience,
the losses suffered, the martyrdom (cf. Elchinova 2012) and to be compensated for those.
Having started as an initiative ‘bottom-up’ rather than as an initiative of UTSB, the fellow-
villagers meeting was realized in partnership with the local Thracian society. With the second
edition of the meeting, however, in accordance with the established manner of thinking, the
organisers sought the approval and the support of institutions (the Sliven municipality and
UTSB). As a result of the legitimacy granted, in 2012 the event was included in the calendar of
cultural events of the municipality and the Union. The circumstance altered the script for the
fellow-villagers’meeting and predetermined the official protocol at its opening. It was expressed
in the welcome address on behalf of the leadership of the two institutions, in E. Kirilov’s short
speech, who informed the descendants about the state of the negotiations between Bulgaria
and Turkey with reference to the unsolved problems between the two countries. The standard
protocol speeches were not interpreted unequivocally by the participants in the fellow-villagers’
meeting, most of whom were attracted there by the chance to communicate and share an
experience, or by the emotional strings that linked those present into a community.
Another chance for creating and maintaining a social network of the descendants
of Thracian Bulgarians are the internet forums. The participants there would seek out the
geographical location and the current names of the ancestors’ towns or villages; they would track
down their next of kin, share their knowledge of the life and families in those places of origin,
exchange information on specialised literature or their trips to the birthplaces of the forefathers,