Dual citizens of Turkey and Bulgaria are worried over a new requirement for voting in the upcoming local elections in Bulgaria. Bulgaria requires citizens with dual citizenship in Turkey to reside in the country for a certain time, to the chagrin of dual citizens who spend most of their time in Turkey.
Bayram Çolakoğlu, the head of the Association of Culture and Solidarity of Balkan Turks, said residence requirement to live in the country for 180 days is "anti-democratic" as it only covers dual citizens in countries outside the European Union. He said it discriminates against some 200,000 Turkish-Bulgarians who live in Turkey. "Until 2009, Bulgaria had allowed people living in Turkey to vote if they stayed in Bulgaria for more than 36 hours. But they changed this when the votes of dual citizens started influencing results," he said.
Çolakoğlu said most Turkish-Bulgarians with dual citizenship had property in Bulgaria and pay their taxes but are not allowed to vote in municipalities they pay taxes.
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