The Process of Securitization of the Turkish Minority in Bulgaria by the Bulgarian Communist Party: The Case of the Revival Process in the Era of Late Socialism
Ivo Kirilov, Ivanov
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The image of the “other” and the process of the threat construction in Bulgarian politics in the Communist period with a focus on the Bulgarian Turks were analyzed in the thesis via using the Copenhagen school’s concept of Securitization. As this approach was constructed based on the Western political reality, the Communist Party in Bulgaria, stepping on the constructed by the pre-Communist period perception of “us” – the ethnic Bulgarians, and “them” – the ethnic Turks, conducted the Securitization process. Even though the Communist regime tried to construct supra-ethnic Bulgarian national identity and unite all of the ethnic groups without bearing ethnic features. Initially, the Bulgarian state was considering that its Muslim population is going to emigrate eventually to the Ottoman Empire and in the future to the Republic of Turkey. The policy undertaken by the Bulgarian Communist government tried to integrate/assimilate its minorities by enhancing their educational level and modernization. However, in the first years of the Communist period, the Bulgarian Turkish identity got enhanced rapidly especially through their significantly increased educational level and economic status. Considering the international developments in Cyprus and the Islamic Revolution in Iran made the Bulgarian Communist party reconsider its national security strategy. The Securitization of the ethnic Turks via imposing the perception that there were people among the Bulgarian Turks that were Turkish state’s agents constructed the perception of the threat among the Bulgarian Society and due to the closed character of the Bulgarian Political reality during the Socialist period the Party-State was the only securitizing actor which was able to construct with the perception of threat among the Bulgarian state and society. That undertaken policy made Sofia isolated and paved the way towards the post-Communist transitional period and put the country on the verge of an ethnic conflict.