An Armenian civic leader from Javakhk said today that autonomy is the only way to combat the growing Turkish presence in the Armenian-populated region.
Artak Gabrielyan, Coordinator of the Council of Samtskhe-Javakhk Armenian NGO’s, said that there’s been a growing number of Turks in the region due to construction on the Kars-Akhalkalak stretch of railroad.
The issue of Javakhk autonomy within a federal Georgia was raised by local Armenian representatives in talks they recently had in Europe with members of the Council of Europe.
“I tried to convince the CoE delegates that Georgia could take steps regarding Javakhk, including granting autonomy, in order to prove its sincerity regarding Abkhazia and Ossetia.
Gabrielyan noted that the socio-economic plight of Armenians in Javakhk has drastically worsened of late and that it would be easy for Turkey to take control of the area through a variety of investment measure.
The Javakhk representative said this would only lead to an exodus of Armenians from the region.