The Moldavian parliament has expelled 10 Christian Turkish deputies for urging the secession of the Gagauz people from the republic and organizing elections, Tass said Tuesday.
The move came as nationalist and secessionist forces were reported to be pulling back from a confrontation. More talks were planned on resolving their ethnic conflict.Tension in southern Moldavia, a republic bordering Romania, has dissipated since two regiments of Soviet Interior Ministry troops began arriving over the weekend to establish a buffer between Moldavians and the Gagauz minority, the official news agency Tass and the independent agency Interfax reported Monday.
Tass said Tuesday that the Moldavian parliament expelled 10 of 13 Gagauz deputies because they "shunned parliamentary sessions, ignored parliamentary laws and resolutions, provoked citizens to violate Moldavian laws and organized general elections in the Gagauz republic."
The Gagauz, descendants of Christians who fled religious persecution in Turkey about 160 years ago, claimed the southern corner of the republic last week and began holding elections for an autonomous government within Moldavia.
Numbering about 150,000 in the republic of 4.3 million, the Gagauz said they feared rising Moldavian nationalism and were angry over a law making Moldavian the republic's official language.
Tass said the declaration of independence, declared unconstitutional by the Moldavian parliament, had heightened ethnic tensions in the republic.