Page 62 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
In support of the claim that the Trakia Euroregion is thinking in perspective, I would like to
point out that inMay 2012 the association
EuroregionPolis –TrakiaKent –RAMTrakia
got registered:
it unifies the regional societies of the Thracian municipalities, Polis (Greece), TrakiaKent (Turkey)
and the regional association of municipalities Trakia (Bulgaria). It is the result of the collaborative
agreements in the spheres of local government, economy, social politics, culture, ecology, and
agriculture, and is a different type of instrument for achieving the
Thrace with no borders
goal.
45
Would the political elite on both sides of the border succeed to utilize the current or
forthcoming membership in the European Union and the functional European programmes for
economic and scio-cultural development of the region, or would each government want its own
dividends? Because of the historical inheritance and the difficult economic situation in Bulgaria,
the optimistic forecasts about partnership on an equal footing seem unrealistic. So far, we can
only observe what is going on at the level of everyday life and at the level of political decisions
and official initiatives.
In conclusion.
Two contradictory tendencies can be highlighted. One reinforces the
division of Thrace by means of political borders and at a symbolic level. National institutions
and NGOs are of assistance here. The institutions establish a certain style of thinking and
classifications, which do not exactly facilitate the alleviation of borders. Within this framework,
Thrace with no borders
remains an intellectual idea and a utopia.
The second tendency is narrowly connected to the EU and the EU programmes, which
stimulate the establishment of transborder regions. There are good resources in terms of nature
and economy, a shared style of life in the region, good neighbourly relations, and the willingness
to do something about it. With the political will of the three states that share the territory of
Thrace, and with equal-footing partnership at the different levels, the project on the Trakia
Euroregion could be realised and Thrace would be able to build up its own identity and turn into
an economical source of power.
The observations reveal that the national space and the stereotypes and attitudes related
to it cannot be obliterarted, but human contacts and experience, the knowledge gained when
crossing the borders complicate and add nuances to them.
Translated by Vitana Kostadinova
References:
Assmann, A. 2004.
Mesta na pamet. Mezhdu triumfa i travmata [Places of memory.
Between triumph and trauma], in
OkoloPierreNora.Mestanapamet i konstruiranenanastoyashteto
[
Around Pierre Nora. Memory sites and constructing the present
], edited by I. Znepolski. Sofia: House
of Human Sciences and Society, 173–187.
Balibar, É. 2001.
Nous, citoyens d
ʼ
Europe? Les frontiers. l
ʼ
État, le people
. Paris: La découverte.
45 The data comes from the
Trakia
regional association of municipalities: www.ram-trakia.org/bg/news.php
(accessed: 20.05.2012).