Tbilisi has forgotten Armenian Genocide04.04.2012 | 18:50
April 24 - this is the day of the genocide of 1915-1923 for all the Armenians. On the eve of the anniversary of the tragedy, the Armenian community of Georgia appealed to the Tbilisi mayor's office to allocate the area for a future memorial to the victims of genocide. The Georgian authorities have repeatedly stressed that the tragedy of the Armenians was also the tragedy for Georgia. But the request for erection of a monument, as well as the very question of recognition of the genocide, remains unanswered for years. GTimes tried to find out why it is so.
Armenian NGOs of Georgia have been appealing to the Georgian authorities to allocate the area for the monument to the Armenians, victims of genocide of 1915-1923, for many years. This request has remained unanswered each year. Another attempt to overcome the threshold of silence was taken in early April of this year, when the mayor of Tbilisi received a statement from the "Community of Armenians in Georgia". However, this request has also remained unanswered.
In April of 2011, the Minister of Defense of Georgia Bacho Akhalaia called the Armenian tragedy of 1915-1923 the personal pain of the Georgian people. At the same time, Georgian parliament has not yet recognized the Armenian Genocide. Moreover, in today's Georgia, any action, timed to the subject of public recognition of the tragedy by the Turkish authorities as a crime against the Armenian people, is banned. According to official Tbilisi, it is a very delicate question. As for the monument to Armenian victims of genocide, the Georgian authorities have not said yes or no. It is encouraging for the Georgian Armenians.
"The question with the monument may be resolved. The question of recognition of the genocide is more complicated, and therefore it cannot be solved in a short time. Tbilisi's official position is as follows: Turkey and Azerbaijan are directly bordering upon Georgia. Recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Georgian Parliament can cause certain complications in the region. Therefore, the question of recognition of the Armenian Genocide in Georgia is "on the shelf" so far", Mari Mikoyan, co-chair of the "Union of Armenians of Georgia", said in an interview to GTimes. Georgian Armenians understand why Georgia does not recognize the Armenian Genocide. "The point is that Turkey today is an important economic and political partner of Georgia. Georgia is interested in good relations with the Turkish Republic". Representatives of the Georgian Azerbaijanis are also preventing Georgian Parliament from recognition of the Armenian genocide.
"If there is a monument to the victims of the Armenian genocide, the Azeris may well have the right to a memorial to the victims of the tragedy in Khojaly in Tbilisi. Such situation may cause a particular ethnic discomfort. I think that the Georgian authorities are delaying the decision in order to avoid ethnic tensions. Georgian Azerbaijanis and Armenians have been living in friendship and good neighborhood for many years".
Anyway, the Georgian Armenians do not give up. "We are going to insist and demand from Tbilisi authorities to establish the Armenian cross-stone. It would remind of the terrible tragedy of the Armenians in the Ottoman Turkey. This cross-stone isn't a political or religious object. It is possible that in the future it may become cultural attraction in Tbilisi and Georgia as a whole", the co-chairman of the "Community of Armenians in Georgia" told the GTimes correspondent.
In Yerevan, the position of the Georgian authorities about the monument and the recognition of the genocide is considered, to put it mildly, incomprehensible. "If the Georgian authorities believe that the Armenian genocide - this is the personal pain of Georgia, Georgia should erect a monument to the victims of the genocide of 1915-1923", Professor Ruben Safrastyan, director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia said in an interview to GTimes. "Georgian parliament has not yet recognized the Armenian Genocide. I think that's bad. Besides, I do not understand why it is forbidden to hold actions in memory of the victims of genocide in Georgia. Inability to recognize this tragedy - it is not only a flagrant disregard for historical facts. Non-recognition of the Genocide by Georgia indicates the discrimination of the Armenians of Georgia as the national minority".