Around  eight thousands of ethnic Meskhetians families want to return their homeland Georgia. For this Aim they have applied Georgian Embassies in different countries to come back. Most  of the Applications were made by the  Meskhetian families who live in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Khirgizistan, USA, Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey.

The Arifovs left Azerbaijan three years ago to live in Akhlskhe, Georgia

Until 1944 Meskhetians lived in Meskheti and Javakheti along the Georgian-Turkish border. For many years they were classified as Turks.  During The World War II, about 120,000 Meskhetians were exiled from Georgia to Central Asia, as part of Stalin’s policy toward “unreliable” ethnic groups.

On 11 July 2007, under the obligations assumed by Georgia in 1999, on its entry to the Council of Europe, the State adopted a law “on Repatriation of Persons forcefully sent into exile from the Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia by the Former USSR in the 40’s of the 20th Century”. The Law offers a formal ground for the return of so-called forced migrants deported from Georgia in 1944 and their descendants.

The repatriation system established by 2007 law of Georgia is based on the restoration of historical fairness and on worthy and voluntary return principles, and envisages step-by-step repatriation. According to the procedure established by the Law, a person seeking the status of a repatriate should fill the application and submit all necessary documents to the Department of Migration, Repatriation and Refugee Issues of the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation of Georgia. The applications review process has started  on 1st  March  2010, which is also the closing date for submitting application forms.

Today General population of ethnich Meskhetians exceeds half million  around the world. Nowdays 1500 Ethnic Meskhetians have come back to live in Georgia. Those Meskhetians came back voluntary and bought their houses in different parts of Georgia.  Only  30 families managed to settle in western-thouthern Georgia, Akhiltskhe a place where from their parents were deported in 1944. Now Returned meskhetians are engaged in agricultural works in Akhlskhe.

Muslim Arifov and his family has come back to Akhiltskhe three years ago from Saatly, seetlement of Azerbaijan. Arifov says that now he feels  happy coming back and  live in his motherland Georgia. “My parents were unfairly deported from this region. Now I’m happy that I  managed to come back and live in my home Georgia with my family.”

Mehemmed Rahimov is working in his garden in Akhlskhe, Georgia

Two months ago Muslim’s relative Mehemmed Rehimov  also decided to come back with his family from Azerbaijan and to live in his motherland Akhlstkhe.  Mehemmed Rehimov  says that Georgia seems better place to live in. “It’s very good sense to live in my motherland Georgia. two months already past after my coming to Georgia. I’m  happy here with my family and I’m feeling myself very well”.

“Vatan” Georgian Axhiska Turks Society is Non Governmental Organization in Georgia to give  legal and moral  help  Meskhetians  who want to  come back.

Ismayil Moidze, chairman of “Vatan” Georgian Axhiska Turks Society NGO

Ismayil Moidze,  the chairman of the society says that, their organization was expecting more people to apply for returning. But he explains that many families refused to apply because of  many documents  are requred  for applying  repatriant status in Georgia. “according to Law if  meskhetian family wants to apply for repatriant statust they need to collect a lot of documents that it’s a little bit difficult in that countries. That’s why many families decided to stay where they live”

Vitse-Primyer Giorgi Baramidze says that today Georgian government  implements its obligations step-by-step regarding Meskhetians returnunng.  Baramidze also mentions that, meskhetian families who will return, Georgian government will not be able to locate them to places where from their parents were deported. “Today the issue of meskhetinas to live all toghether is one place is not possible. As you know their houses are busy by families who took them  as meskhetians  were deported”.  Baramidze also says that  georgian government will help them to integrate to georgian society very soon. “we as a government will provide them with all necessary suport and equal rights as our other georgian citizens”.

“Vatan” Georgian Axhiska Turks Society hopes that there are still families who would like to use the chances to returning their homeland. Chairman of the society  İsmayıl Moidze says that his organization has already applied Georgian government asking to extend again the time of accepting applicatiotions one more time.

Timur Yakobashvili, State minister on Reintegration issues says that Georgian government will help  families who comes back.“till today the process is going normall. Georgian government made serious concessions on this issue and extended accepting applications for several time.  We hope that the families who wishes to return their homeland, will return. And I visited mesketians villiages where they  live together they are good citizens. And I would like to mention that we need more people  like them”.  Yakobashvili also stated that Meskhetians who will  retrun legally,  will not face up any obstacles.

April, 2010, By Zaka Guluyev