The influence of Turkey in Georgia’s autonomous province of Adjara is growing every year. This problem is immense. However, Georgian government hasn’t even tried to solve it. They don’t want to bear the burden of decision-making. Meanwhile, there are new dimensions of this issue.
Turkey considers Batumi airport as its domestic airport. In 2018, Turkey’s TAV Georgia, and the Georgian government initiated negotiations on the expansion of international airports in Tbilisi and Batumi. The TAV Georgia Deputy General Manager, Thea Zakaradze claims that the negotiation process has been suspended. Representatives of TAV Georgia insist that expanding the airport in Batumi is more important now.
During the presidency of Saakashvili the TAV Georgia received the right to operate the airports in Batumi and Tbilisi for 50 years.
The Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Giorgi Kobulia said: “The airports will be developed in Adjara. It’s not decided yet where the airports will be, in Batumi or somewhere else. There are several ideas. Tbilisi and the area near the capital is also discussed. We are also discussing whether it will be Tbilisi airport or another location.”
It is not excluded that the negotiations with the Georgian government have been suspended because the Turkish party has demanded to expand initially the airport in Batumi. Therefore, the expansion of the Batumi airport on another territory is unlikely to suit Turkey. It is also important that the Turkish company is not financed enough does to build the new airport.
It’s necessary to draw attention of not only the Georgians, but also the world community, to the alarming situation in Adjara. It is time to sound the alarm and stop the turkization of the Georgian region. One can agree that the Georgians are constantly hearing that the Turks have done a lot for Adjara. But we shouldn’t forget that all this has been done not for the Georgians, but for the Turks. Georgians have practically no rights in Adjara, therefore the passive position of Tbilisi on this issue is the greatest concern.