Turkish official says racist attacks on Turks in Bulgaria

16:41, May 30, 2011      

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Turkish State Minister and Deputy Premier Bulent Arinc has said there were racist attacks on Turks in Bulgaria after reports of fight between Bulgarians and ethnic Turks in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia earlier this month, local media reported Monday.

"Unfortunately, there were some racist attacks on our people in Bulgaria... Especially members of Ataka party did great harm and made unpleasing acts with their statements and actions," the Anatolia news agency quoted Arinc as telling a meeting at the Bulgarian Mestanli Culture and Solidarity Association in the northwestern province of Bursa on Sunday.

Arinc said the Turkish government was closely following those attacks, adding that the government had set up the "Presidency of Turks Abroad and Related Communities" for Turks living in foreign countries and especially in the Balkans.

His words came after a reported major fight in downtown Sofia that erupted after members of the Bulgarian nationalist party " Ataka" attacked Turkish Muslims praying on spread out floor mats on May 20.

One ethnic Turk was hurt in the scuffle, while Ataka President Volen Siderov said a parliament member was also hurt and that two Ataka members were arrested by police, the Macedonian International News Agency reported on its website.

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