Azerbaijan, Baku, October 26 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /
The process of rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia should be considered as regional one because it can cause problems in the Georgian region of Samtskhe-Javakheti, senior fellow at the Foundation for Strategic and International Studies in Georgia, Professor Vladimir Papava said.
"I do not think that rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia is in the interests of the region. After rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia, Georgia will not have an argument that return of Turks-Meskhetians will create new ethnic problems in the region. But, in fact, Armenians living in those territories (Samtskhe-Javakheti) oppose and are afraid of Turks' return," Papava told Trend .
Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers Ahmet Davutoglu and Edward Nalbandian signed the protocols Ankara-Yerevan in Zurich on October 10.
Diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey have been broken in 1993.
The law on repatriation of internally displaced people to Georgia came into force in early January. According to the Ministry of Refugees and Resettlement, bids for return are made by people willing to be repatriated.
The Repatriation Law was approved at request of the Council of Europe. Primarily, it concerns Turks-Meskhetians internally displaced from South Georgia in 1944 by Stalin's regime. Now Turks-Meskhetians live mainly in Russia and Azerbaijan. Many of them intend to return to their historical homeland.
According to Papava, if Armenia feels that the Nagorno-Karabakh problem will be solved in its favor, some forces in the country will provoke the conflict in Samtskhe-Javakheti too. This process should be considered as a regional process but not as Georgian internal one. Certainly, Javakheti's issue should be considered both in the context of Turkish-Armenian rerapprochement and return of Turks-Meskhetians in the territory where the Armenians live now, he said.
"At present, Georgia is in a very difficult position. The Armenians living in Georgia significantly oppose return of Turks-Meskhetians to this region," Papava said.
If Turkey and Armenia fully approach, the Armenian community living in Javakheti, must not oppose return of Turks-Meskhetians. However, the situation is different. It can cause ethnic problems in the region, experts said.
He said that it is an important new perspective of the problem of the regional process.
"However, on the other hand, the status quo in the Caucasus could not be maintained for a long time. Conflicts in the region must be solved," Papava said.