1 April, 2023
President Rumen Radev told the Turkish ambassador in Sofia that Bulgaria will support Turkey in every way possible. The ambassador responded that friend recognises friend in difficult times
The Bulgarian president Rumen Radev assured the Turkish ambassador to Sofia Aylin Sekizkök of Bulgaria’s strong support (source: president.bg, YouTube)

This is the English translation of the transcript of an audio report, which was broadcast by Radio Romania News in its emission Global Agenda on 6 February 2023. The archive of the recent emissions can be heard in Romanian here.

Bulgaria is one of many European countries taking part in the rescue operations for earthquake victims in Turkey. Bulgarian teams of mountain rescuers with dogs, firefighters trained to work in the event of an earthquake, teams of volunteers have already left for the disaster area or are due to leave tomorrow. The Bulgarian Red Cross is in contact with the Turkish Red Crescent and is ready to provide assistance. 

Support for Turkey is also at grassroots level. Bulgarian Muslims in Haskovo and the surrounding area will collect donations for the victims during Friday prayers at two of the city’s mosques. The Bulgarian Mufti has already announced a campaign to support victims of the earthquake in Turkey. 

In an interview with Radio Bulgaria’s Turkish section, the Turkish ambassador to Sofia, Aylin Sekizkök, said: “A friend manifests himself in difficult days. As soon as the news about the earthquake was published, President Rumen Radev called me in the early hours of the day and told me that the Bulgarian state is ready to help us with all possible means. He assured us that Bulgaria will be with us”, I concluded the quote. Ambassador Sekizkök also said that for Turkey the help from neighbouring Bulgaria is very important and significant. 

The quick reaction of Bulgarian institutions as well as the supportive mood of Bulgarian citizens should be placed in the context of Bulgarian-Turkish relations, which have been at a high level for years. Recently, there have been frequent high-level visits between representatives of Bulgarian and Turkish state institutions. Bulgaria has many Turkish-speaking citizens, and Turkey is home to so-called Turkish expatriates – people who have left Bulgaria but are Bulgarian citizens or descendants of Bulgarian citizens, speak Bulgarian or have a special relationship with Bulgaria as their country of origin.

Photo: Over 2500 people have died in Turkey and Syria as a result of the earthquakes (source: YouTube)

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