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Except in Sofia

Bulgaria shows that even in the bloody Balkans, it is possible to choose peace

By Elizabeth Pond   June 1999

East of kosovo, things look better. Bulgaria has wound up its 600-year-old quarrel with Turkey and its 86-year-old quarrel with Macedonia. It all goes to prove, Bulgarians say, that ethnic hostility is not some primordial Balkan curse; that even here, “European” or even “transatlantic” behaviour is possible.

It could have been very different. Bulgaria lived under the Ottoman empire from 1389 until 1878. Bulgarian memories of the “Turkish yoke” were not good. None the less, within Bulgaria a modus vivendi developed with the ethnic Turk minority-until the 1980s. Then Bulgaria’s communist leaders, such as Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia, sought to…

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