Samtskhe-Javakheti


Samtskhe-Javakheti

Samtskhe-Javakheti ( _ka. სამცხე-ჯავახეთი) (formerly Meskheti ) is a region in southern Georgia, with Akhaltsikhe as its capital. Samtskhe-Javakheti comprises six administrative districts: Akhaltsikhe, Adigeni, Aspindza, Borjomi, Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda. There are 5 municipalities, 6 townlets, 67 community and village "sakrebulos" (assemblies), and 268 villages in the region. It is bordered by Guria and Imereti to the north, Kartli (Shida Kartli and Kvemo Kartli) to the north-east and to the east, Armenia and Turkey to the south, Ajara to the west. Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and South Caucasus natural gas pipeline passes through this region.

Expulsion of Meskhetian Turks from Meshketi

Meskhetian Turks or Meskhetians are the former Muslim inhabitants of Meskheti (now known as Samtskhe) in Georgia, along the border with Turkey. They were deported to Central Asia during November 15-25 1944 by Joseph Stalin and settled within Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Of the 100,000 forcibly deported in cattle-trucks a total of 10,000 perished. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2003/apr/05/guardianobituaries.usa as retrieved on 29 Apr 2008 20:59:44 GMT] Today they are dispersed over a number of other countries of the former Soviet Union. A majority Fact|date=March 2008 (more than 80%) of Meskhetian Turks are ethnic Turks ("Yerli" (Turkish-speaking agriculturalists) and "Terekeme" with Kurds, Armenians and Hamshenis. A minority Fact|date=March 2008 (about 40%) are descendants of indigenous Georgians and Armenians who became Muslim in the 17th-18th centuries. The estimated population of Meskhetian Turks is around 300,000.

Demographics

According to the 2002 census, ethnic Armenians, chiefly concentrated in Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda districts (Javakheti), are the majority in the region, making up about 54% of the population [ [http://www.statistics.ge/main.php?pform=145&plang=1 Statistics Georgia ] ] , which they share with Pontian Greeks, Ossetians and Georgians. Armenians are underrepresented in all spheres of public life and especially government - only three of the governor’s 26 staff are Armenians (11 per cent). The same is true for the territorial departments of different ministries. For instance, only sixteen of 82 staff (19.5 per cent) of the tax department in Samtskhe-Javakheti are Armenians. [http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=4517&l=1 Georgia’s Armenian and Azeri Minorities] , 22 November 2006 "(free registration needed to view the full report)"] Lack of dialogue between local Armenians and Tbilisi adds to perceptions of discrimination and alienation. [ [http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/ICG/a839b86ed70730cc9b32cbd9a898fc90.htm Reuters AlertNet - Georgia’s Armenian and Azeri Minorities ] ] There have been demonstrations, police brutality and killings in this region. [Reuters Foundation; Alertnet, 22 Nov 2006, [Georgia’s Armenian and Azeri Minorities http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/ICG/a839b86ed70730cc9b32cbd9a898fc90.htm] ] Many Armenians claim they are treated as second-class citizens. The local Armenian civic organization, United Javakhk Democratic Alliance calls for local autonomy, comparable with the one promised to Abkhazians and Ossetians.

Tourist attractions

One of the major tourist attractions in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia is the Vardzia (which was founded by Queen Tamar in 1185) and Vanis Kvabebi (which dates from 8th century) cave monasteries. They are located near the town of Aspindza, Georgia.

See also

* Meskhetian Turks
* Meskheti

Notes

References

* [http://www.investmentguide.ge/pages/country_overview/regional_overview/samtskhe-javakheti/ Unemployment]
* [http://www.investmentguide.ge/pages/country_overview/regional_overview/samtskhe-javakheti/ Poverty]
* [http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/ICG/a839b86ed70730cc9b32cbd9a898fc90.htm Crisis Group Report]
* [http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/ICG/a839b86ed70730cc9b32cbd9a898fc90.htm ICG Report]

External links

* [http://www.samtskhe-javakheti.ge/en Samtskhe-Javakheti Regional Governmental Website]
* [http://www.eurasianet.org/georgia/samtskhe/story.html "Friends at Dinner, Foes at Politics"] (about socio-economic problems of the region)
* [http://www.ecmi.de/download/working_paper_22.pdf "Obstacles Impending the Regional Integration of the Javalkheti Region] , an ECMI working paper (PDF format)

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