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Xenophobic Rhetoric

Xenophobic Rhetoric Ilian Todorov

On February 11, MP from Ataka party Ilian Todorov, speaking on the television, proposed to provide child benefits to adult mothers only, which is directed against Roma, many of whom are teenage mothers. Todorov stated that some Roma “turned childbirth into business”.

On February 20, Leader of the Ataka party Volen Siderov stated that his party would introduce an initiative to ban news in Turkish language, cancellation of the declaration of apology for the “bulgarisation” of Muslims under the communist regime, as well as recognise the genocide of Bulgarians carried out by the Osman Empire. Siderov threatened that if the initiative fails, Ataka will leave the parliament.

On February 28, MP from Ataka party Magdalena Tasheva stated that Bulgarian lands are being bought by the Canadian billionaire J. Barry, in order to settle Syrian refugees and change the ethno-religious appearance of Bulgaria.

On March 1, Vice President of the Ataka party Pavel Shopov expressed his opinion during discussions around the proposed amendments, “Is everything over in the country that now we have to deal with same-sex marriages? They legalised them in Texas, so now we have to immediately follow their example?”

On December 17, leader of the National Salvation Front of Bulgaria Valery Simeonov, speaking in parliament, said that Roma demand unemployment benefits “without any effort on their part”. “Their children play with pigs and their women have maternal instincts akin to street dogs.”

There have been several extreme anti-migration statements by members of the government, Mayor of Rozovo Feodora Georgeva explained that the reason for migrantophobic actions that took place in her village is that locals are simply “wary of those who are different”.

Former Director of the State Agency for Refugees, Nikolai Chirpanliev, said that it is a “well-known fact that Arabs tend to lie and it is part of their everyday life. Such statements intimidate the population and incite Xenophobia.

On November 25, Patriotic Front party announced that it will no longer support B. Borisov’s government after the Prime Minister refused to dismiss the Deputy Defence Minister – an ethnic Turk Orhan Ismailov.

In May, the Ataka party was actively promoting a video where same-sex marriage and paedophilia was presented as core of “Euro-Atlantic values”.

On June 20, presenters of a TV programme “Hi, Bulgaria” Anna Tsolova and Viktor Nikolayev said that one of the reasons for the recent flooding in Varna was illegal deforestation by Roma.

Head of the National Salvation Front of Bulgaria also owns SKAT TV, a channel engaged in propaganda of often borderline radical national-patriotic ideas. For example, on August 27 and September 3, SKAT broadcasted a programme called “Jehovah’s Witnesses, Satanists taking over Bulgaria.

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