An EU-Turkey summit is not planned in the program of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. But the country’s foreign minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said today (8 January) such a summit is still possible.
It can be assumed that Zaharieva is well informed. She accompanied PM Boyko Borissov on his Istanbul visit on Sunday, for the re-opening of the Iron Church, a Bulgarian Orthodox temple in the Golden Horn in Istanbul, after 7 years of rehabilitation. On this occasion, Borissov had a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Mediapool quoted Zaharieva as saying that a EU-Turkey that although a EU summit is not foreseen in the Bulgarian Presidency program, such a meeting could still take place.
The former culture minister in the former Borissov cabinet Vezhdi Rashidov, who is of Turkish ethnic origin, also accompanied the Prime Minister in Istanbul. Rashidov is quoted as saying that during his meeting with Erdoğan Borissov raised the issue of the imprisoned Turkish journalists.
“This has made the talks last longer. Boyko stood for the freedom of free speech and of journalists”, Rashidov said.
The vast majority of the Bulgarian media, friendly to Borissov, familarly call him Boyko, by his first name. But the truth is that Borissov is hardly a promoter of freedom of speech or the media. The2017 media freedom index of Reporters Without Borders ranks Bulgaria as number 109.
This is what Reporters without borders say about Bulgaria: “Bulgaria is ranked lower in the World Press Freedom Index than any other European Union member. This is due to an environment dominated by corruption and collusion between media, politicians, and oligarchs”.
In the same ranking, Turkey holds the 155th place.
Rashidov said that Borissov told Erdoğan that the imprisonment of Turkish journalists is not a good sign for the EU. He also said that if Turkish journalists will be freed, this would be a success for Borissov.
He also said that Borissov had the “unique” chance of being one of the important leaders in the EU and of “balancing the Balkans”.
“This diplomacy, spearheaded by Boyko Borissov, probably irritates a lot of our compatriots, but it is very useful for the world”, Rashidov said.