BAKU (Combined Sources)—A an Azeri organization announced its intentions Thursday of encouraging investments in what it called the Azeri-populated region of Georgian, which in reality is the Kvemo-Kartili district of the Armenian-populated Javakhk region.
As a result of policies to displace the Armenian population in Javakhk, the Georgian government inhabited the area with ethnic Azeris and Turks. The area directly borders Armenia’s Lori region.
During a press conference, the Gheyrat (Honor) movement discussed the socio-economic conditions of Azeris in Georgia, adding that in the absence of any effort by the Azeri government and “indifference” by the Caucasus Muslim Board, the organization has taken it upon itself to defend the so-called rights of the Azeris in Georgia.
“High-level bilateral relations do not have any impact on the socio-cultural life of the Azeri population in Georgia,” said Zumrud Gurbanov, a member of the movement. He pointed out that land reform has been completed in Georgia, but alleged that the Azeri population’s interests have not been taken into consideration.
The Gheyrat movement sees Azeri investment in the region as a way out of the situation.
The movement’s leader, Alibala Askerov, proposed “joint projects at the government level,” as a solution to problems, among them are unemployment and Azeri language education, which according to Askerov had resulted in 60,000 young Azeris leaving Georgia.
He cited the lack of involvement by Azeris in state government as another problem plaguing the Azeri population.
At a press conference Monday in Yerevan, Javakhk expert Haykazoun Alvartsian warned of this development and foreshadowed a possible conflict between Azeri and the Georgian government that could flare as a result of the latter’s policies toward ethnic minorities in general.
On the other hand, Alvartsian warned of Georgian efforts to resettle the area with Turkic people in order to diminish the influence of the Armenians in Samtskhe-Javakhk.
Alvartsian also urged the Armenian authorities to forge a comprehensive policy regarding Javakhk and its Armenian population, saying since independence, Armenia has not had a strategy regarding this critically important and historic Armenian region.