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Deported Meskhs – One More Problem of Georgia

The Dilis Gazeti

(Georgian Press Digest. Civil Georgia. 14.12.01) – Problem of repatriation of Meskhs deported from Georgia in the 40’s of twentieth century (see 26.07.01. Georgian Press Digest) concerns Georgian politicians and the society. Their movement and settlement in Georgia is one of the obligations Georgia took while entering the Council of Europe. This is the problem, which needs to be resolved.

According to the Dilis Gazeti, there are different opinions concerning the matter in Georgia. While judging from the reality large part of the society regards the repatriation process very challenging.

The governmental commission working on the issue of repatriation of Meskhs does not have one particular position, while opinions of its members vary. A draft-law on the issue, which was proposed at the Council of Europe expertise in Strasburg in 2001, was the only positive step the commission made.

Director of the Repatriation Department Davit Japaridze considers that Russia, legatee of the Soviet Union, together with out country should share the responsibility of moving Meskhs to Georgia. Japaridze presumes that in case the deported Meskhs are automatically given the citizenship of Georgia they might massively move to the country.

Member of the governmental commission Eldar Shengelaia excludes such case. He presumes that only 20-30 thousand deported out of 300 thousand will be willing to return to Georgia.

There are other arguments claiming the uneasiness of deported Meskhs moving to Georgia. Member of the governmental commission Roin Metreveli says that the majority of Meskhs are of Turkish mentality and it is dangerous to settle them by the Turkish border. According to other members of the commission, the deported will cause problems to Georgia because it will be difficult for them to get accustomed to Georgian language, culture and traditions.

In order to avoid massive flow of the deported, members of the governmental commission say, the repatriation should be fulfilled one step after another, taking the priority of Georgian state interests into consideration, the Dilis Gazeti says.

In case Georgia validates to the West that repatriation of Muslim Meskhs might put the security of Georgia under danger, the process may at least be delayed, the paper presumes. It says that a legal base should be created soon, which will both defend Georgian state and show humanity of the county to the West.


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