Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country located in the Balkans. It is surrounded by Serbia and North Macedonia in the west, the Black Sea in the east, Romania in the north, Greece in the south and Turkey in the southeast. With a surface area of 110,994 square kilometers, it is the 16th largest country in Europe. Mountains such as Balkan, Rhodope and Rila determine the surface shapes. Musala Peak on Rila Mountain is the highest peak in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The Danube Plain in the north and the Upper Thrace Plain in the south are also low and fertile regions of Bulgaria.
Organized prehistoric cultures began to develop in the territory of present-day Bulgaria in the Neolithic Age. Its ancient history saw the rule of the Thracians, Greeks and Romans. The emergence of a united Bulgarian state came with the establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire, which had dominated most of the Balkans, in 681 AD. and during the Middle Ages it became a cultural center for the Slavs. With the collapse of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, its lands remained under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The 93 War led to the establishment of the Third Bulgarian State. Problems with its neighbors in the following years caused Bulgaria to get closer to Germany in both world wars. It became a one-party socialist state in 1946 as part of the Soviet Union-led Eastern Bloc. In December 1989, the ruling Communist Party allowed multiparty elections to be held, which ensured Bulgaria’s transition to democracy and a market economy.
The first inhabitants of Bulgaria were the Thracians, a tribe of Indo-European origin. With the BC, the country first came under the rule of the Roman Empire and then the Byzantine Empire.
The Bulgarians, who fought with Byzantium and expanded their dominance until the Byzantine Empire collapsed, came under the rule of the Byzantine Empire again between 1018-1186. After the Turks came to Rumelia in the 14th century, they lost their independence and came under the rule of the Ottoman Empire.
With the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the support of the Tsarist Russia, the national liberation movement flared up in Bulgaria as well as in the whole of the Balkans. In October 1908, it recognized as fully independent Tsarism.
Bulgaria, which participated in the war on the same front with the Ottomans in World War I, II. Participating in World War II on the side of Germany, it emerged defeated in both wars.
II. After the World War II, with the help of the Soviet army advancing in the Balkans, the country passed to the socialist regime under the leadership of Georgi Dimitrov, and remained a member of the Warsaw Pact during the cold war years.
Bulgaria, whose socialist regime collapsed in 1990 with the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc, has put its relations with its neighbor Turkey on a very positive basis. The country joined the European Union on 1 January 2007.
Bulgaria is a republic governed by a parliamentary democracy. Elections are supervised and regulated by the Central Election Commission. Political parties compete for 240 seats in parliament by direct popular vote. The National Assembly has the power to pass laws, approve the budget, organize the presidential election, vote and dismiss the government, declare war, pass the bill sending troops abroad, and ratify international treaties.
Romanian Radev, supported by the Bulgarian Socialist Party and its coalition partners, won the Presidential elections held on 13 November 2016 with 59.37% of the votes.
2017 Parliamentary Elections
A large number of parties competed in the election held on March 24, 2017 to determine 240 members of the Bulgarian National Assembly. Parties competing in 31 constituencies with at least 4 and at most 16 deputies must also exceed the 4% electoral threshold. In the elections with 54.07% turnout, 5 parties succeeded in entering the parliament by passing the threshold.
The Big Balkan Mountains (Stara Planina) divides Bulgaria roughly into two geographical regions, the Danube plateau in the north and the Thrace plateau in the south. In southern Bulgaria, which has a very mountainous geography, there are the Rhodope and Rila mountain ranges. Musala Mountain, which is the highest peak of the country and the Balkans, at an altitude of 2925 meters, is also located here.
The Danube, the country’s most important river, also forms a large part of the Romanian-Bulgarian border. Meric (Марица) originating within the borders of Bulgaria and flowing into the Aegean Sea by forming the Greece-Turkey border, and the Struma rivers, which are born near Sofia and flow through the southwest of the country and flow into the Aegean Sea from Greece, are among the main rivers of the country.
According to the data published by the ‘National Statistical Institute’ as of 31.12.2015, the population of Bulgaria was stated as 7,153,784 people and the population distribution by provinces is as follows;
The country, which was dominated by the socialist economy in the state administration until 1990, experienced a very severe economic crisis in which the national income shrank by nearly 70% during the 90s due to the loss of the Soviet market as a result of the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc and the problems of integration with the capitalist economy. The Bulgarian economy is in the recovery process since the end of the 90s and is among the fastest growing economies among European countries.
Some statistical data on the economy are as follows: National income (2001): $16.5 billion, per capita income: $3.500, government debts: $10 billion, government revenues (2000): $6.4 billion, government expenditures (2000): $4.4 billion, inflation (2001): 3%, economy by sectors (2001): services: 57%, industry: 29%, agriculture: 14%.
Instead of the collapsed old system, shock economic packages like Bulgaria, Poland and Russia, which are experiencing the pain of the new system’s establishment, did not apply. He implemented a more conservative economic reform package.
Bulgaria, which has been a NATO member since 2004, became a full member of the EU on 1 January 2007.
A large proportion of Bulgarian citizens are Orthodox Christians. In the population census on March 1, 2001, Orthodox 6,552,751, Catholic 43,811, Protestant 42,308, Muslim 966,978 and other religions 14,937 were recorded. In the population census made on December 4, 1992, Alevis were counted as a separate group for the first time and 83,537 people introduced themselves as Alevis.
Population, ethnically 6,655,210 Bulgarians (83.9%), 747,000 Turks (9.4%), 370.908 Roma (4.7%), 15,595 Russians, 10,832 Armenians, 10,566 Vlachs, 5,071 Macedonians, 3,408 Greeks, 2,489 It consists of Ukrainians, 1,363 Jews and 1,088 Romanian individuals. There are 18,792 people belonging to other groups. 131,531 people declared themselves as Muslim Bulgarians (Pomak).