MINELRES: Georgy Khaindrava: Georgia is ready to restore the rights of Meskhetian Turks and will facilitate their return

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sat Sep 3 11:33:42 2005


Original sender: Emil Adelkhanov <emil-ade@cipdd.org>


(Translated from Russian by MINELRES)


Black Sea Press, 16 August 2005
Issue Nr.2

Georgia is ready to restore the rights of Meskhetian Turks and will
facilitate their return - Georgy Khaindrava

Tbilisi, 16 August 2005. /BLACK SEA PRESS - RIA NOVOSTI/. Georgia is
ready to actively restore the rights of Meskhetian Turks and will
facilitate their return to their historical homeland. This opinion was
expressed by Georgy Khaindrava, the Georgian State Minister for Conflict 
Resolution in an interview to RIA NOVOSTI. 

The State Minister has reminded that the so-called Meskhetian Turks are
ethnic Georgians of Islamic faith, have been expelled from their homes
by the Soviet authorities in 1944. 

"Georgia is ready to actively restore their rights and bring them back
into Georgia, including their return to their historical homeland -
Samtskhe-Javakhetia. We believe these people were punished in unjust,
inhumane way and denied all basic rights. They are our brothers and
sisters and we will help them". 

He also pointed out that "at the moment, we do not consider their return to 
Samtskhe-Javakhetia, these people will be settled throughout
Georgia". 

According to the Minister, "the issue of return to Samtskhe-Javakhetia
is a very complicated one. An area previously populated by the
Meskhetians is already populated by other inhabitants, mostly Armenians. And we 
are not going to restore justice at the expense of someone else".

The Minister does not rule out that some "some of the Meskhetians, after they 
receive Georgian citizenship, will move to Akhalkalaki rayon, buy houses and 
try to return to the places of their previous residence". 

"Georgia is preparing an action plan on this issue now. Besides, the
Council of Europe is prepared to give its expert assistance in
preparation of the law on rehabilitation of the deported Meskhetian
Turks", said the Minister.  

Mr.Khaindrava has reminded that Georgia has undertaken an obligation
upon joining the Council of Europe - by 2012 to return home Meskhetian
Turks, now living in Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and
Azerbaijan. 

Muslim Meskhetian Turks have been deported from the areas of Georgia
bordering Turkey (including Akhalkalaki rayon) by the decision of the
Soviet Government in 1944. Pat of the deported identify themselves as
Turks, while another part consider themselves as Meskhetian Georgians
(inhabitants of historically Georgian area of Meskheti, which for a long period 
has been a subject of conquest and forced conversion to Islam by Turkey). Part 
of this area is still within Georgia and now forms the region of Samtskhe-
Javakhetia. 

At the moment the region of Samtskhe-Javakhetia is populated by
Armenians, who are strongly negative on the issue of possible return of
Meskhetian Turks into the region.


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