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Controversial initiative proposed in Akhalkalaki

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, March 20
The Akhalkalaki City Council has requested that the Armenian language be granted regional language status. This region of Georgia is comprised of many ethnic Armenians. As such, certain moves initiated within this community occasionally indicate a push for Armenian separatism.

Some analysts suggest that the Akhalkalaki City Council wants to realize the “Armenian Dream” under the Georgian Dream’s governance. City council member Sarkiz Uzunyan is the one who proposed the controversial initiative, which is based on the European Charter on regional and minority languages. Uzunyan suggested that since Georgia recognized and supported the idea of integration into the EU, the government should respect and support the documents which are promoted by the EU. He recommended that Georgia follow the principles initiated by European organizations aimed at protecting and developing the languages of national minorities, as well as the country’s other regional languages.

The Akhalkalaki City Council, which mainly consists of ethnic Armenians, asked the Georgian Parliament to take relevant steps in this direction. However, the former majority representatives from the United National Movement (UNM) oppose such moves.

The Georgian Dream on the other hand, has not revealed its official position regarding the issue, but it is facing a difficult dilemma that needs to be solved sooner rather than later.

The UNM’s criticism aimed at Georgian Dream members highlights that during its time in office, no platform was provided for such controversial initiatives. UNM Secretary General, Vano Merabishvili, dedicated a press conference to this issue recently and has asked Georgian Dream officials to cooperate on the matter.

Current Minister of the Interior, Irakli Gharibahsvili, said that the situation is under control in Javakheti and nothing extraordinary is happening there. However, it is widely suspected that if the Georgian government ratifies the charter, a very unpopular outcome may follow within Georgian civil society. In addition, there currently appears to be no unity within the Georgian Dream itself regarding this issue.

Experts and the public await further developments.