Problems of Georgian Azerbaijanis must be addressed: Musavat state deputy
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 9 / Trend , J.Babayeva/
Azerbaijanis living in Georgia say the Azerbaijani government does not pay due attention to their problems.
"Azerbaijanis in Georgia are on the verge of losing their national identity," Nasib Nasibli, an Azerbaijani state deputy in the opposition Musavat party, told Trend on Jan. 9. "They are being assimilated - as opposed to integrated - into Georgian society. They have serious problems and call on the Georgian and Azerbaijani governments to help them."
According to unofficial reports, roughly 500,000 Azerbaijanis live in Georgia - primarily in the Kvemo-Kartli region. They complain about problems studying the Georgian language, receiving an education in their native tongue and holding high positions in state structures.
Recently, a group of public figures and Azerbaijani state deputies - including Nasib Nasibli, Gultakin Hajiyeva, Musa Guliyev, and Lala Abbasova - visited Georgia to speak with local Azerbaijanis about their problems.
The Azerbaijani parliament has rejected Nasibli's suggestions to discuss the issue on numerous occasions.
Georgia must handle the problems of Georgian Azerbaijanis, Nasibli said.
"Kvemo-Kartli is a part of Georgia," he said. "The Georgian government must address the problems of Georgian Azerbaijanis. They are Georgian citizens. But for Azerbaijan, Georgian Azerbaijanis are also compatriots. And the Azerbaijani government should not be ambivalent about solving their problems."
Gas supplies to Georgian regions heavily populated with Azerbaijanis are also unacceptable, he said.
"Garachop, an enclave of 7 villages with 25-30,000 Azerbaijanis, has no gas even though there is a pipeline nearby," Nasibli said. "They are experiencing serious water supply problems. The Azerbaijani government must take these issues into consideration."
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