Revival Process

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The Revival Process, also known as the Process of Rebirth (Bulgarian: Възродителен процес - Vǎzroditelen proces) was the official name of the forceful assimilation of Bulgaria's Muslim Turkish minority (900,000 people or 10% of the population) to assimilate by changing their Turkish and Arabic names to Bulgarian names and forbidding the exercise of their customs, religion and language. It was enacted between 1984 and 1989 under the communist government of Todor Zhivkov. Those who refused were subjected to persecution, including imprisonment.[1][2]

As part of the campaign, all Bulgarian nationals who were ethnically Turkish were forced to exchange their names for Bulgarian names amid much official intimidation, some violence and loss of life (Muslim Bulgarians had been forced to change their names in 1972). In early 1989, in some areas with large ethnic Turkish populations there were severe clashes with fatalities. Shortly after that, when the border with Turkey was opened, over 360,000 people left Bulgaria for Turkey in the late spring and the summer of 1989.[3]

The migration of the Bulgarian Turks to Turkey constituted the biggest mass migration in Europe since the Second World War.

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  1. ^ The Policies of the Bulgarian Communist Party towards Jews, Roma, Pomaks and Turks (1944-89) Archived 2007-09-26 at the Wayback Machine. (Bulgarian). By Ulrich Büchsenschütz. International Center for Minority Studies and Intercultural Relations, 2000. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  2. ^ These Events Need to be Discussed in the History Textbooks (Bulgarian). Dr. Mihail Ivanov (Interview). Mediapool. 22 March 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  3. ^ Tomasz Kamusella. 2018. Ethnic Cleansing During the Cold War: The Forgotten 1989 Expulsion of Bulgaria’s Turks (Ser: Routledge Studies in Modern European History). London: Routledge, 328pp. ISBN 9781138480520

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