TBILISI (Combined Sources)–The settlement of Meskhetian Turks in Georgia’s Armenian inhabited Samtskhe-Javakheti region will have negative consequences, Tbilisi State University Department of Demographics Director at Giorgi Gogsadze said on Thursday.
"The Council of Europe’s calls for returning the Meskhetian Turks to Georgia will do no good," he said. "But unfortunately, we are under pressure to do so."
The Armenia’s of the Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo-Kartli regions have always shown a remarkable degree of loyalty to the Georgian government, Gogsadze explained. At every election, they have voted for pro-government forces. In 2003, they came out in support of Eduard Shvarnadze, and then Mikheil Saakashvili after the "Rose Revolution."
The same occurred during this year’s presidential election in January, Gogsadze noted.
During a joint press conference with his Georgian counterpart Zurab Nogaideli, Turkish Prime Minister Recap Tayyip Erdogan late last year, announced that Turkey would assist in the return to Georgia of the Meskhetian Turks.
"The Meshkhetian Turks will constitute a new bridge of friendship and cooperation [between Turkey and Georgia]," he had said.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, which was completed in 2006, currently serves as the only oil pipeline feeding Europe besides those coming from Russia. The pipeline, which is the lifeblood of the Azerbaijani military, currently runs through the heavily populated Samtskhe-Javakheti region. The Meskhetian Turks are to be settled around the area of the pipeline.
According to Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau Chairman Hrant Markarian Armenia must begin working with Georgia toward the establishment of Javakhk as an autonomous province. Markarian’s statemen’s came during the 30th ARF World Congress on Wednesday.
At the Congress, Markarian noted how previous efforts have resulted in little to no improvement for the condition of Javakhk’s Armenia’s and called for a new impetus to re-ignite the struggle for Javakhk autonomy.
With of 238,000, the Armenian-inhabited Samtskhe-Javakhehti region is situated in southern Georgia, bordering Armenia’s Lori Province and is the Tayk region of historical Armenia.