This is an important time for the entire South Caucasus and Middle East region with the visit of the Georgian Foreign Minister to Ankara

17.02.24 16:30

On February 14-15, 2024, the Georgian Foreign Minister, Ilya Darchiashvili, paid an official visit to the Republic of Turkey. During the visit, he met with his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, as well as with the Speaker of the Parliament, Numan Kurtulmuş.


Turkey has consistently supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia since its independence. Turkey is Georgia's most significant foreign economic partner and investor. Joint projects with Turkey and Azerbaijan, such as oil pipelines, gas pipelines, and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad, have played a crucial role in Georgia's development as a key transit country between East and West.


The visit of the Georgian Foreign Minister to Ankara was significant for the South Caucasus and the Middle East regions. Cooperation between Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan is crucial to ensure transit and economic ties between Asia and Europe. This visit highlights the importance of regional cooperation.


On February 14, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Egypt for the first time in 12 years. During the visit, international communications were likely discussed. The flow of cargo through the Suez Canal has sharply decreased due to shipping problems in the Red Sea caused by the Yemeni Houthis. Ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip and the threat of displacement to Egypt may cause the flow to drop even further.


The ongoing conflict in Ukraine makes it impractical to resume transit through northern Eurasia. Therefore, the Middle Corridor route through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey gains significant global strategic importance as the only reliable route between Asia and Europe.


It is evident that there are destructive forces that aim to destabilize the situation in the South Caucasus and potentially disrupt this crucial route. The arming of the regime in Yerevan by certain countries, such as France and India, with its revanchist ambitions, poses a threat to stability in the region.


During a joint press conference with Georgian Foreign Minister Ilya Darchiashvili, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan emphasized the crucial importance of stability in the region amidst current global and regional developments. During our discussion, we addressed the long-standing issue of the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus. We shared our respective positions on the matter and reaffirmed our commitment to achieving stability in the region as soon as possible.


It is important to note that external forces with destructive intentions may attempt to hinder cooperation between Turkey and Georgia by exploiting differences in religion and historical perspectives.  However, the Turkish side is taking measures to prevent provocateurs from exploiting religious and historical issues that could harm Georgian-Turkish cooperation.


The cultural cooperation program between the Governments of Georgia and Turkey was recently renewed when, in January of this year, the Minister of Culture and Sports of Georgia, Teia Tsulukiani, paid a working visit to Turkey. During the visit, the parties signed the 'Cultural Cooperation Program between the Government of Georgia and the Government of the Republic of Turkey for 2024-2028'.


This program is a continuation of a similar initiative that has been in effect since 2017 and expired in 2021. The program aims to promote cooperation between relevant organizations and agencies of the countries in the fields of culture and art, including literature, theater, cinema, music, fine arts, museums, publishing, and cultural heritage protection.


As part of the 2017-2021 cooperation program between the Turkish and Georgian governments, the Turkish government allocated over $4 million to restore and repair several historic sites in Georgia. The Ishkhani temple was restored using modern technology while maintaining the authenticity of the monument. The Oshki Cathedral was also renewed with respect to its original design, and the Parhali temple was rehabilitated. Additionally, preservation procedures for Tbeti have been initiated.


The preservation of the outstanding monuments of Georgian architecture, Oshki and Ishkhani, as Georgian temples is an undeniable merit of Turkey. It is important to maintain objectivity and avoid subjective evaluations. It is worth noting that some historical falsifiers claim these temples as 'Armenian', but they are indeed Georgian. If these churches were in their hands, they would likely be appropriated, as many Georgian churches and monasteries on the present territory of the Republic of Armenia have been. 


Turkey does not need to claim Georgian cultural monuments as its own. However, by restoring these Georgian shrines and promoting international tourism in these areas, Turkey is introducing people from various countries to the accomplishments of Georgian culture and architecture.


This cooperation between Turkey and Georgia extends to other areas as well. Given the instability and conflicts in the modern world, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of cooperation between Turkey and Georgia in the field of security. As the closest NATO member to Georgia, Turkey plays a significant role in the strategic course of Georgia's accession to the Alliance. Therefore, the development of military cooperation between Georgia and Turkey is essential.




Alexandre Chkheidze

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