MINELRES: Caucasus Reporting Service No. 540: Georgias Armenians Want Tbilisi to Recognize Genocide

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Tue May 4 18:15:22 2010

Original sender: Institute for War & Peace Reporting <editor@iwpr.net>

April 27, 2010

TURKEY  Russia and US put brave face on move, welcoming fact that
Armenia has not withdrawn from process entirely.  
By Naira Melkmyan in Yerevan

But analysts say it could not afford to put its relations at risk with
By Tamuna Uchidze in Akhaltsikhe

Centenarian recalls her family’s suffering but says now is time to build
bridges with Turkey.  
By Gayane Mkrtchyan in Yerevan

Baku blames “Armenian lobby” for spoiled relations with United States.  
By Idrak Abbasov and Shahin Rzaev in Baku




But analysts say it could not afford to put its relations at risk with

By Tamuna Uchidze in Akhaltsikhe

Georgia is unlikely to agree to an appeal by the country’s Armenian
community to officially recognise as genocide the mass killings
conducted in the Ottoman Empire after 1915, commentators say.

More than 20 countries have recognised the killings as genocide, despite
furious opposition from Turkey, but experts say Georgia is not expected
to join them, being dependant on its neighbour for much of its trade and
access to the outside world.

Every year on April 24, Armenians around the world mark the mass
killings that they say began on that date in Istanbul in 1915. This
year, three groups – The Armenian Community of Georgia, The Armenian
Centre of Cooperation of Georgia and the Association of Armenian
Students of Georgia – for the first time prepared an appeal to both
parliament and President Mikhail Saakashvili.

According to the last census, Armenians make up five per cent of
Georgia’s population, most of them being concentrated in the southern
Samtskhe-Javakheti region.

“This year it is 95 years since the start of the first genocide of the
20th century - the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire in 1915-23.
The Armenians of Georgia have one desire, that the authorities
recognised this fact, and therefore we decided to begin our process,”
Alexander Oganov, a representative of the Armenian students’ group,

Robert Muradyan, a teacher in one of Georgia’s Armenian-language
schools, said such a step would be hugely appreciated by Armenians.

“The genocide of ethnic Armenians has been recognised by many countries.
If Georgia recognises it, it would be a mark of respect towards the
Armenian nation,” he said.

However, most experts think that such a statement by the government
would cause outrage in Turkey, which Saakashvili can ill afford,
considering his already poor relations with northern neighbour Russia.

“The examination of such a question would complicate relations between
Georgia and Turkey,” said Tsira Meskhishvili, chairwoman of the
Tolerant association, in words echoed across the political spectrum.

“This is a very complicated question which we must approach with great
caution. Armenia is our neighbour and partner, but it is necessary also
to study the geopolitical situation in the region,” said Tamaz
Petriashvili, who represents part of Samtskhe-Javakheti , a largely
ethnic Armenian region, for the ruling coalition in parliament.

“Georgia has to consider many factors, including our strategic relations
with Turkey, which is also a neighbour and one of Georgia’s important

The parliament deputy declined to speculate whether the chamber would
debate the issue soon.

“If it was that simple a question, then it would have been resolved by
other countries as well a long time ago. We need to be cautious, so as
to maintain stability in the region,” he said.

There is some political pressure on the local level, however. Ruben
Karapetyan, deputy head of the local administration in Alakhtsikhe,
which is the main town of Samtskhe-Javakheti, said Armenians would
maintain the campaign for recognition.

“What difference does it make when this happens? Today or tomorrow, this
question will be on the agenda anyway. Ethnic Armenians living in
Georgia have waited for the genocide to be recognised for a long time
already,” he said.

But historians say that, whatever the facts of the case, which are
disputed between Armenia and Turkey, recognition would be a step based
on politics, not history.

“If Turkey recognises the genocide, and Georgia goes along with it, that
is a different thing. Otherwise, we would radically change our good
neighbourly relations with Turkey. In such a situation, Georgia must not
recognise the genocide and it won’t happen,” Nikoloz Akhalkatsi, a
Georgian historian, said.

His opinion seemed to meet broad consensus among political analysts, who
said the government could not afford to put its relations at risk with

“Georgia borders both Armenia and Turkey, and does not have the right to
harm relations with either of its neighbours. Georgian citizens of
Armenian ethnicity should look on this question with understanding.
They, of course, have the right to give petitions to the authorities,
but must be prepared to receive a justified refusal,” said Paata
Zakareishvili, an analyst from the Institute for Researches of
Nationalism and

He said the protocols agreed between Turkey and Armenia, which are
intended to normalise relations between the countries, sanctioned the
establishment of a joint commission to study the question of the

“It would be better if Georgia waited for the conclusions of this
commission. I think that a time will come when Turkish society and state
recognise this fact. The question is a problem for Turkish society, not
for Armenians,” he said.

Tamuna Uchidze is a reporter from the Southern Gates newspaper.



provides the international community with a unique insiders'
perspective on events in the North and South Caucasus. Using
our network of local journalists, the service publishes
news and analysis from across the region every week.

The opinions expressed in IWPR's Caucasus Reporting
Service are those of the authors and do not necessarily
represent those of the publication or of IWPR.

The service
forms part of IWPR's Caucasus programme, which supports
local media development while encouraging better local and
international understanding of the region.

Caucasus programme is supported by the British government, the
Norwegian government, the European Commission and the
Finnish government. The service is currently available
online in English and in Russian. 

SERVICE: Editor-in-Chief: Anthony Borden; Managing Editor:
Yigal Chazan; Caucasus Editor: Oliver Bullough; Associate
Editors: Shahin Rzayev in Baku, Seda Muradian in Yerevan
and Giorgi Kupatadze in Tbilisi.

DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT: Executive Director: Anthony Borden; Head
of Programmes: Elizabeth Coates.

**** www.iwpr.net

IWPR gives voice to people at the frontlines of conflict, crisis and
change. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, IWPR helps people in the world's
most challenging environments have the information they need to drive
positive changes in their lives — holding government to account,
demanding constructive solutions, strengthening civil society and
securing human rights. Amid war, dictatorship, and political transition,
IWPR builds the level of public information and responsible debate. IWPR
forges the skills and capacity of local journalism, strengthens local
media institutions and engages with civil society and governments to
ensure that information achieves impact.

IWPR - Europe, 48 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8LT, UK
Tel: +44 20 7831 1030

IWPR – United States, 1325 G
Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005, United States
Tel: +1 202 449 7717

1515 Broadway, 11th Floor, New
York, New York 10036, United States
Tel: +1 202 903 1073

Stichting IWPR Nederland, Eisenhowerlaan 77 K, 2517 KK
Den Haag, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 70 338 9016

For further details on this project and other information
services and media programmes, go to: www.iwpr.net 

1477-7959 Copyright (c) 2009 The Institute for War &
Peace Reporting 

**** www.iwpr.net

Institute for War & Peace Reporting. 48 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X
8LT, UK. Registered with charitable status in the United
Kingdom (charity reg. no: 1027201, company reg. no:
2744185); the United States under IRS Section 501(c)(3);  The
Netherlands as a charitable foundation; and South Africa
under Section

This message was sent using Endymion MailMan.
http://www.endymion.com/products/mailman/ http://www.microlink.com/