Page 73 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
Now, for example, ourmayor, I told you last time, didn’t I, the project is really quite ready.
A huge complex will be built, with a tower in it. It costs about 15 million Euro. The municipality
has absolutely no resources to run it but we have already got candidates willing to finance it.
A big lake, it is exactly the place where the Balkan war took place, a historical place it is, the
mayor says. It is exactly the place where the Turkish army surrendered to the Bulgarian army...
there is those tabii; the equipment is still there, a big lake, a tall tower, the tower won’t be a
television tower, it will be a revolving tower. The mayor has already presented it on Channel 1
of the Bulgarian national television. And he told them, “When I sit, top of the tower, to have a
coffee or a rakia drink, I’ll say, ‘Hello, my Bulgarian neighbour’, right? A second glance with the
second sip, ‘Hello, my Greek neighbour’, I’ll say.” And it will be an interesting place to see the
three states from that tower. It is high there indeed, you could even see Svilengrad.
Another idea for a collaborative project means to exemplify the shared style of life in the
region:
Yes, we had this other idea to make another Bulgarian-Turkish complex and seemingly
everything was completed, right? The Bulgarian party told us, no, we have no financial
resources. To make a Bulgarian-Turkish centre here. With lakes, with everything, two houses
will be built: a Revival-type house and this other one, in the one there will be Turkish dishes,
local food, right? In two restaurants here, right? Cafeterias Bulgarian style, cafeterias Turkish
style, right? Turkish coffee, what we have here
(From an interview from H. Ch. 2011)
.
The projects and programmes for transborder collaboration that the Edirne municipality
takes part in are numerous and most of them are directed towards getting to know the culture
and the communities on both sides of the border and towards exhibiting that cultural heritage.
Even though the number of projects of this type has been diminishing in the last two years, due
to the change of policy of the Turkish state,
19
the transborder contacts and the cultural events in
town still take place.
2. Tsarevo – a town close to the border
The town of Tsarevo and the settlements from the farthest south-eastern municipality of
Bulgaria are the alternative research field, in connection with which we have analysed the ways
of inhabiting spaces on the part of those who come with the different migration waves triggered
by moving political borders. As our approach to heritage involves the ‘heirs’ and the ways they
appropriate new space or choose to remember the places that their forefathers came from, the
emphasis here is on the ways of constructing the heritage of the refugees. However, an heritage,
explicitly labelled ‘Thracian’, cannot be found on the level of a small town without researching the
19 Due to the decisions of the municipal councils in most Bulgarian municipalities to condemn the genocide
of Armenians, the number of approved co-projects between Edirne and Bulgarian municipalities, such as Burgas,
Yambol, Silistra, etc. has shrunk even though numerous projects were previously successful.