Former Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, who resigned on September 2, earlier, during the celebration of the Georgian national holiday Didgoroba on August 12, loudly informed everyone present that “the Didgori battle continues for each of the Georgians.”
In 1121, the Georgian king David Agmashenebeli in Didgori defeated the army of Seljuk Turks, which led to the subsequent liberation of the future capital – Tbilisi, as well as to the general unification of Georgia.
Bakhtadze voiced the current urgent problem of the sluggish expansion of Turkey throughout the entire South Caucasus.
There is no doubt that the Georgian lands are within the sphere of special interests of Turkey.
In confirmation of this, one can cite the phrase of the President of Turkey Recep Erdogan, which he voiced on October 15, 2016, speaking at the University of the Turkish city of Rize. According to him, the Turkish state considers as its territory those that are located in close proximity to today’s “illegitimate” borders of Turkey.
“Our interests include Iraq, Syria, Libya, Crimea, Karabakh, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and other fraternal regions. Many historians believe that Cyprus, Aleppo, Mosul, Erbil, Kirkuk, Batumi, Thessaloniki, Varna, should be included in the Turkish borders. Western Thrace and the islands of the Aegean,” said the Turkish president.
The Georgian regions of Adjara, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Kvemo-Kartli and Kakheti are facing the expansion of Turkey more often than others.
It is noteworthy that Ankara uses “soft power”, tries to be invisible and does not count on the instant return on investment.
The focus of Turkey is on the religious, economic and educational components of its influence.
In addition, in the regions of Kvemo-Kartli and Kakheti, where the Azerbaijani community lives compactly, Turkey is actively using the assistance of fraternal Azerbaijan.
It should be noted that at present, the entire network of pro-Turkish public organizations and humanitarian projects operates under the auspices of the Turkish Agency for International Cooperation and Development TIKA. This structure often acts as a cover for MIT, the Turkish National Intelligence Organization.
Cultural and humanitarian spheres
The Muslim population of Georgia makes up more than 10% of the total population of the country, and this figure is constantly growing. Active Islamization has been carried out by Turkish missionaries since the beginning of the 2000s.
So, in 2002, in Kvemo Kartli, in the village of Meore-Kesalo, Marneuli district, on the border with Azerbaijan, with the financial support of Turkey, an Islamic madrassah was opened, which gathered numerous local youth.
Soon, students began pro-Turkish propaganda outside the walls of the school. The Turkish side hosted the best students for further study.
In 2006-2008, having been educated in Turkey, former students founded several pro-Turkish youth organizations in Georgia, such as Khuzur, the Georgian Muslim Society, and the Georgian Youth Education and Assistance Society.
The activities of these organizations were supervised by the head of the Georgian-Turkish Friendship Association Emin Shekherji.
For a long time, he led the madrassah in Meore-Kesalo and at that time was already a kind of “agent of influence” of the Turkish special services.
The general coordination of efforts in the interests of Turkey was carried out by the former attache of the Turkish Embassy for Religious Affairs Ahmed Erdem.
Over the past years, these organizations have significantly increased the number of their members and have gained authority and sympathy among the local population.
A large role in this was played by gratuitous assistance to needy families during religious holidays. Funds for such charity were allocated through the already mentioned TIKA agency.
Particularly active in the Georgian direction were its leaders Serdar Cham, Mehmed Ilmaz and Resul Durmaz.
Author: David Tabatadze