Tbilisi, Georgia / Trend corr. N.Kirtskhalia / Giorgi Kheviashvili, the Georgian minister on Refugees and Settling, recommends to Mashati Turks refrain to take steps not concerted with the Georgian Government on visiting their historical lands.
Recently, a group of Mashati Turks from Azerbaijan visited places in Adigensk region in Samtskh, Javakhetia. They were departed from this land during the Stalin regime in 1944. There occurred an incident between the local Mashaties and Mashati-Turks. The local Mashaties stated that Mashati Turks can return their lands once they publicly apologize for persecution of Christian-Mashaties at the beginning of 20th century.
"Mashati Turks have to go through a long and difficult way to become a citizen of Georgia and to have their own houses and lands. Crossing via historical lands and pointing out on the houses, which belonged to their ancestors, may cause unpleasant results," the minister said.
Visits to about 30 Mashati Turks from Azerbaijan are supported by the International Association of Mashaty-Turks. Some 3,000 of 70,000 Mashati Turks residing in Azerbaijan are ready to return to their motherland.
The members of the delegation will meet with Kheviashvili on 1 August.