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Government Remembers Turk-Meskhetians Only Before Elections

Shorena Ghlonti, Guria

Small town Nasakirali is one of the 29 territorial entities in Ozurgeti district. Ukrainian, Russian, Armenian, Azerbaijan, Kurds, Belorussian, Estonian, Polish, Turkish, Lithuanian, Chinese and Georgian people peacefully live together in the town. The Human Rights Center got interested about the life of Turk-Meskhetians. Their settlement is 3 kilometers away from Nasakirali but it belongs to the town. “We always vote National Movement during elections but they have never kept their promises yet,” said Meskhetians.

Water is fetched from the distance of three kilometers, road is in poor conditions, locals have small land, everybody is unemployed and grave social environment – this is everyday life of the Turk-Meskhetians from Nasakirali.

Ordinary two-storied houses built during soviet regime with small yards and small bakeries in the yard… this is settlement of Turk-Meskhetians which is located 10 kilometers away from Ozurgeti district center and 3 kilometers away from Nasakirali. According to locals, government recalls their settlement only before elections like residents of other villages.

“Village authorities cannot do anything because they do not have funds. Officials from district administration come to our village, ask about our problems and then leave us,’ said the Meskhetians.

“I remember when we settled here we had water. 20 years have passed since then and we have been fetching water from the distance of several kilometers,” said an elderly woman, “I have to walk two kilometers to fetch water; soon it will be dark and I have nobody to send for water.”

“We have been urging to improve our water system but nobody has paid attention to us,” complains Rostom Bekadze.

Locals have many problems but very little income. Thus, most male inhabitants who have large families work in Turkey to keep their families.

Alima Tsatsanidze returned from Turkey and is not going there again because there is no job for Georgians there. “I used to get social allowance but two months ago it was dropped. I do not have even minimal living conditions and how I can be happy with life,” said Tsatsanidze.

“Social agent told me if I have hens I can sell eggs and earn money. However, nobody cares that I have children who go to school and they need food and clothes. Let them employ me somewhere. Even if I have salary of 100 GEL, I will not go to Turkey and will not need their allowance either,’ said father of three children who is teacher by profession.

“Three months ago we petitioned to the Guria region governor and requested repair of the road but nobody has replied yet. During rainy-day even ambulance cannot reach our settlement. We are sure, before elections local authority will remember us. We always vote for the National Movement but they have never kept their promises yet,” said Meskhetians.

“I have to walk three kilometers till school. Children of other settlements go to school by mini-bus. Lessons start at 10:00 am. At 4:00 pm we return home all wet,” said Aida in the ninth form; then her father continued: “children are hungry all day long at school; I cannot give them money to buy something at school.”

“Where can I work? If there were job, we are hard-working people and we should definitely work. We have little land; each family has 3 000 sq. meters of land where we grow vegetables, nuts but we have no plot for wheat-flour. Consequently, we do not earn anything from our plots,” said 53-year-old Gamidi.

“We cannot repair road now because it is very expensive,” said assistant to Nasakirali village governor Davit Tunadze.

“It was result of governmental policy that we settled in Nasakirali instead our historic region of Meskheti. To tell the truth it is all the same for us – whether we live in Orpolo or Nasakirali. Homeland is homeland. We are calm, hardworking people. Our past taught us to value everything,” said local residents.

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