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A hard way home2008-12-29 09:42
On December 23 the chairman of the International Association of Meskheti Turks S. Barbakadze sent a letter to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, T. Davis stating that the process of repatriation of Meskheti Turks to Georgia remains very complicated. The letter contains an appeal to the Council of Europe to take relevant measures forcing the Georgian leaders to honor their repatriation commitments.
It will be remembered that last June Georgia's parliament passed the law on repatriation of Meskheti Turks promising to bring back all those who want to the motherland. According to Barbakadze in spite of the assertions on readiness to fulfill this promise by the representatives of Georgia, in reality the situation is completely different. Out of 300 thousand Turks willing to come back to Georgia such an opportunity has been offered to 3000 persons altogether with the term of filing almost expired - the deadline was January 1 2009.
By the way this circumstance was already taken into account by Georgia's parliament. On December 25 the committee on legal issues considered and approved the relevant amendments to the law of Georgia "On repatriation of persons forcedly removed from the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic during the 1940s" in the third reading. Now an application to Georgia's correspondent authority for a status of a repatriate can be filed by the persons evicted from the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic during the 1940s and their descendants before July 1 2009.
The problem background ascends to 1944. At that time around 90 thousand of Meskheti Turks were evicted from Samtskhe-Javakheti. Most of them were sent to Fergana valley in Uzbekistan. The newcomers did not manage to find a common language with the locals though. In 1989 the Soviet government carried out their massive evacuation to the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan promising that in the near future they would have a chance to come back to Georgia.
This promise was not fulfilled. Later quite a lot of Meskhetis moved to Turkey and the USA while Javakhetia is mostly populated with the Armenians who by the way have never been on good terms with the Turks. Certainly this fact makes the actions of the Georgian authorities more complicated.