YEREVAN (Hetq.am)—Georgia’s departure from the CIS will have a negative impact on Javakhk, warned the director of the Research Center for Western Armenian Affairs, Haykazoun Alvartsian during a press conference Tuesday.
Alvrtsian explained that since Georgian-Russian diplomatic relations were severed, the routes to Russia for seasonal employment have also been closed to Javakhk Armenians, resulting in severe socio-economic problems for Javakhk.
He added that the Armenians of Javakhk have high expectations from Armenia and that without Yerevan’s moral, educational, cultural and economic assistance it will be difficult to hold on to this important historic Armenian province.
“This is what is important and our authorities do not see the reality or wish to see it. Since the independence, Armenia has not had an overall policy for Javakhk,” added Alvrtsian.
He sounded an alarm about the increase of Azeri and Turkish inhabitant in what were once Armenian-populated areas, explaining that the Georgian government’s open-door policy toward the Turks have displaced Armenians from their ancestral homes.
Alvartsian explained that the Kvemo-Kartli region of Javakhk, which directly north of the Lori region in Armenia, completely is populated by Azeris, warning that at this rate, the Turkic population of the area reach proportions that could threaten Javakhk.
“Azeris not only lay claims to this territory, but also speak out vocally. Georgians will be unable to rebuff those pressures,” said Alvartsian.
This, coupled with Georgian government plans to resettle Meskheti Turks in the Samtskhe-Javakhk region does pose a significant threat to the Armenians in Javakhk.
The Javakhk expert said that there would not be serious changes in Armenian-Georgian relations as a result of Georgia’s departure from the CIS.
“We simply lost a border with the CIS which, in essence, we really never had previously anyway. Neither did the railway work nor the overland route from Ossetia. Only the sea route was operable,” explained Alvartsian.
“Georgia gradually sees that it has lost its importance for the West and the United States. It is clear that Georgia will not become a member of NATO for a long time to come. It is also clear that Abkhazia and South Ossetia will not be returned to Georgia. Reviewing its options and projects based on its one-time favorable status, Georgia is now looking to cement more creative relations with Armenia, both economically and in terms of communications, since Iran is now looking at Armenia with interest regarding future communications potential, both in terms of the railway and as a market,” added Alvartsian.