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Compiled by Messenger Staff
Monday, August 5
Dato Turashvili: Azerbaijan may have no greater friend than me

Netgazeti reports that the Georgian writer Dato Turashvili was named as persona non grata in Azerbaijan. The writer finds the decision of Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry unexpected and vague. He said Azerbaijan was among the first countries to recognize Georgia’s independence in 1918 this is why he has always respected this country, its culture and nation.

“I am engaged in variety of projects that connects me with Azerbaijan, this is why it was so unexpected for me,” Turashvili said, stressing that a country announces someone as persona non grata if the latter is not welcome there. According to Turashvili, Azerbaijan may not have anyone more faithful and friendly towards the country than him. “I am the main propagandist of their lovely literature,” he stated.

Turashvili said around 3 years ago he had visited Karabakh with another Georgian, Beso Khvedelidze, under the frames of an English project uniting the Caucasus. The project started from Baku, and later moved to Karabakh where the writers familiarized the local population with the literature of Azeri writers and poets.

Turashvili thinks this problem should be solved on the official level. “If I mean anything valuable to our state as an ordinary citizen, I would like to use the opportunity and ask our government to address Azeri counterparts and improve this mistake,” Turashvili said.

It was on August 3rd when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan released a list of 335 people who illegally visited Azerbaijan`s occupied territories including the Georgian writers Turashvili and Khvedelidze as well as the head of the Writers’ Union, Makvala Gonashvili. The list also includes various politicians and public figures from various countries.