Page 61 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
Edirne
.
43
Currently, a sum of nearly 9 million Euro is available for transborder projects between
Bulgaria andTurkey. Their utilisation did not begin unil 1
st
July 2011. It is investment undertakings
and the establishment of lasting partnerships between different organisations that are being
financed. There is financial support for projects that aim at constructing sports playgrounds and
parks, developing the tourist infrastructure, restoring culturally-historic assets, furnishing schools
and confirming partnerships in the sphere of business, between NGO’s and schools. Between
partners from the districts of Haskovo and Edirne and Kirklareli, there will be 17 projects, with the
expectation of 1,529,000 Euro for the Haskovo district. Nine of the projects are with the Bulgarian
partner in a leading position. The biggest project belongs to the Svilengrad municipality and it
is worth 599,000 Euro.
44
The regional structures created on both sides of the border, with centres
in Haskovo and Edirne, are meant to provide services for the business, as well as to increase
foreign investors’ interest towards the region. Establishing a Council of chairpersons of the trade
and industry chambers from the trans-border region (Haskovo, Yambol, Burgas, Edirne, Kırklareli,
Keşan, Babaeski and Uzunköprü) is in store. The structure will facilitate the coordination between
the business, and the state and local authorities; it will assist in outlining the directions of
development of the economy in the region. Collaborative initiatives are planned to offer local
produce on both sides of the border.
The trust gained with the first contacts between the partners seems of major significance.
Getting to know the partners on the other side of the border is related to knowledge of the past,
the traditions and customs, the political and legislative structures and systems, the economic
relations and the use of the adequate language. In this sense, the transborder initiatives in the
sphere of culture have a major role. Cultural collaboration gets visible results, which contribute
to the development and understanding between the two states and are the prerequisite
for the next transborder events, for solving issues that have to do with the environment, for
business partnerships, for carrying out infrastructural projects, etc. The attempt to move from
these projects, from one-time activities and specific objectives (e.g. building up a network for
the exchange of information) towards a regular and strategic partnership is visible. Would this
process bring about new economic activities, open new vacancies, improve on the protection
of the environment, add to the socio-cultural development, and, in the last analysis, would it
contribute to the formation of a specific identity of the transborder region? – the answer depends
onmany factors. Presently, the Bulgarian-Turkish collaboration has as many adepts as opponents.
The latter revitalise the image of the centuries-old enemy and the threat of an economic and
political dependence on Turkey.
43 Financed by the PHARE programme for
Transborder collaboration between Bulgaria and Turkey
, BG 2005/ 017-
453.02.01, at the amount of 35,455 Euro, 2007–2008 (www.rbtbc-trakia.org).
44 The project is carried out in collaboration with the Turkish municipality of Uzunköprü and is for the cleaning
of the Maritsa river bed on the territory of the Bulgarian municipality. Another investment project is the project of the
Stambolovo municipality worth 449,000 Euro. The sum is divided between the Turkish municipality Ahmetbey and is
for mirror parks. Among the projects that got financing are those of the
Prof. Assen Zlatarov
high school in Haskovo
and the high school in Edirne (98,000 Euro), the Trade and Industry Chamber in Haskovo and the Trade and Industry
Chamber in Edirne (82,000 Euro), etc.