Who Feels Better in Georgia: Armenians or Azerbaijanians?15.06.2009 | 17:19
At the recent meeting of Georgian and Armenian Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Tbilisi the Georgian authorities promised to solve part of the social and economic problems of Djavakha. But the experts of the Armenian analytical center MITK believe that the Georgian authorities' cessions to Armenians are not so significant as those to Azerbaijanians. That is because the latter act in a better-organized manner. And Azerbaijanians, on the contrary, envy the solidarity of Georgian Armenians.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian reported to the Armenian Parliament how he tried to solve the problems of Djavakha Armenians during his visit to Tbilisi on 8 June. He stated that the Georgian authorities are going to invest one hundred million dollars into the construction of roads in Samtskha-Djavakheti, says New Region. They will construct a new hydro power station and develop several schools. Djavakha Armenians will receive new workplaces.
The Armenians of Djavakheti and the Erevan residents sympathizing with them have invoked the mother state and the foreign Armenian diaspora asking for help. Obviously not in vain. However, according to an expert of the Armenian analytical center MITK Edward Abramian, the position of Azerbaijanians in Georgia is much better than that of Armenians. Tbilisi is conducting the state policy of assimilation among both of these minority groups, but due to their passivity Armenians are really disappearing in Georgia.
And Azerbaijanians, according to Abramian, are regularly increasing their presence due to migration and a high birth rate. With the support of Baku and Ankara they obtain improvement of economic conditions in the districts populated by Azerbaijanians. Abramian relies upon the thesis on the fact that Turkey and its relative Azerbaijan strives to domination in the Caucasus, fulfilling «global tasks common for all Turks». By the way, it was them to suggest transforming Georgia into a «federation» to save it from further dissection. And Russia is not interested in the prosperity of the Georgian government because of its aggression last August and of its focus on co-operation with the US and NATO to the prejudice of its Northern neighbour's interests.
According to Abramian, Azebaijanians, unlike Armenians, do not stand for the autonomy of their compact residence region Kvemo Kartli (Borchaly), as they have already covered the whole South Georgia. In the Gurdjaani, Sagaredjio, Lagodekhi districts of the Kakhetia Region of Georgia Azerbaijanians constitute about half of the population.
Edward Abramian gives some facts to reinforce the statement that Azerbaijan and Turkey are creating economic precedents for Azerbaijanians' prosperity in Georgia. They lobby transport corridor projects (e.g. Kars-Akhalkalak-Tbilisi-Baku railway) and energy carrier transit in regions where Turkic language population already prevails or will prevail in the near future. Small enterprises of Kvemo Kartli are financed from Baku with the support of relatives and public organizations. Not long ago under the pressure of the Azerbaijanian president Ilkham Aliev a fruit and vegetable processing plant was put into operation in Marneuli.
As part of the issues, including those related to the purchasing of land plots, have not found any solution yet, Azerbaijanian activists go on fighting for their rights. Abramian counted 20 famous Azerbaijanian public organizations and four «secret, extremist» ones. Some are oriented at Baku as Geyrat («Dignity») headed by Alibaly Askerov. Others at Ankara, including the Azerbaijanian National Assembly of Georgia (NAAG) headed by Dashgyn Gulmamedov. This organization came out for the return of Meskhetin Turks and Kistians to Georgia, having deserved the approval of Turkey.
According to Abramian, Askerov, being a Parliament deputy, coordinates his activity with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It was him to «introduce the "Russian provocation" term into the public life of Kvemo Kartli, and since then the actions of Azerbaijanian activists not beneficial for Tbilisi have been presented exactly in this light», considers Abramian.
Dyshgan Gulmamedov also accuses the Geyrat people of co-operation with Georgian intelligence services. It could be one of the reasons of his arrest this spring during his trip to Baku. Besides, NAAG laid down to the Georgian authorities and Parliament some impudent requirements on the Georgian constitution modification, on making Azerbaijanian a state language. Gulmamedov was even ready to co-operate with Armenian organizations of Samtskhe-Djavakhka in their fight for the rights of national minorities.
Meanwhile these days the Azerbaijanian Parliament (Medjlis) is discussing the problems of national minorities in Georgia. E.g., the issues of teaching quality in Azerbaijanian schools of Kvemo Kartli, absence of TV and radio channels in Azerbaijanian. «During our visit to Georgia we saw that the country has no TV channel in Azerbaijanian. While in Djavakhetia they have two Armenian-language channels», - the deputy Fazil Mustafa, President of the Great Creation Party, said on 9 June during a special Parliament session.