The 2007 International Conference June 7-9, 2007
Bordeaux, France "Globalization, Immigration, and Change in Religious Movements"
by Nino EDILASHVILI (Ivane Javakhishvili State University of Tbilisi)
The Caucasus, which unites Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and parts of Southern Russia including a number of autonomous republics and approximately fifty different ethno linguistic groups, is a very complex region.
Due to its strategic geopolitical location on the crossroad of Europe and Asia, the Black and Caspian Seas, the Caucasus has repeatedly been invaded by great powers – Persians, Arabs, Mongols, Turks and Russians during the course of history. Despite the foreign command, the peoples and nations of the Caucasus have successfully managed to maintain unique cultural and political identity.
The latest of the long chain of cultural or political dominations in the region has been that of the Russian empire. The Tsarist and later Soviet control over the Caucasus during the last two centuries has lead to political, cultural and demographic changes, including massive deportations and migrations.
The 1944 deportation of so called Turkish Meskhetians (I will call them Meskhetians) in the 40s of the 20th century has been the most controversial deportation under the Soviet rule and remains a hot topic until now.
The deportation of Meskhetians, though legacy of the Soviet Russia’s state policy, has become a political and moral dilemma for the Georgian state after the country assumed responsibility to repatriate the deported Meskhetians upon Georgia’s accession to the Council of Europe in 1999.
My presentation will provide an insight into the historic background of the case, inform about the life of the Meskhetian people before and after the deportation; Georgia’s commitment before the international community specifically; the Draft Law on Repatriation; public opinion regarding the repatriation law and potential challenges related to resettlement of thousands of Meskhetians. The paper will also examine arguments of the pro-repatriation actors such as Meskhetian organizations, international organization and local NGOs; and finally will suggest findings and relevant recommendations.