ANKARA -- Observers for the Turkish newspapers Cumhuriyet (Republic), Hurriyet (Freedom), Haberturk (Turkishnews), Aksam (Evening), Turkiye, Milliyet, Zaman (Time), Vatan, Yeni safak, Vakit, Posta, Star have come to a meeting with the President of Abkhazia in his temporary residence.
Turkish journalists were interested in the purpose of his visit, the situation in Abkhazia, its relationship with other countries.
Sergey Bagapsh said the purpose of his visit to Turkey is to meet with the numerous Abkhaz diaspora, discuss with the compatriots living in Turkey the prospects of development of Abkhazia, issues of strengthening relations between the diaspora and the historical Motherland. The President of Abkhazia added that he is respectful to the leadership of Turkey which regards his visit and his meetings with compatriots with favor.
“Turkey is a serious state, and we always treat it with great respect”, President said.
Sergey Bagapsh told Turkish mass-media representatives about the political situation in Abkhazia: “We have been already recognized by some states, Russia, the biggest state in the world, was the first to do it. We expect that the independence of Abkhazia will be recognized shortly by some more states”.
Answering the question about mutual relations with Georgia Sergey Bagapsh said that Geneva consultations are being held now. Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Georgia, Russia and the European Union participate in them. According to President, the West tries to turn these meetings into a format of negotiations with Georgia. As he said, a dialogue between Abkhazia and Georgia can be carried on only as between two independent states: “We have a historical right to an independent state and thank God, we have exercised this right”. He emphasized that the status of Abkhazia cannot be a subject of negotiations. “It has been defined. Abkhazia is an independent state, our independence has been recognized and we have no intention to discuss this question with anybody”, the head of state summed up.
Answering the question what has changed in Abkhazia that the Turkish leadership endorsed his visit to the country, President said that today Abkhazia has become a state recognized by Russia and a number of other countries. “Today Abkhazia is a stable state that wishes to develop following a democratic path, develop its economy”, Sergey Bagapsh said. The President of Abkhazia once again expressed gratitude to the leadership of Turkey which does not try “to cut the cords that bind and block contacts of a single nation”.
Turkish mass-media representatives were interested in the Abkhaz authorities’ attitude to the diaspora in Turkey.
President said that according to a rough estimate from 300 to 400 thousand Abkhaz live in Turkey. He emphasized that it is a very important question for Abkhazia. According to President, nowadays, when the processes of assimilation are accelerating, there are a lot of demographic problems, the unity between the diaspora and the Motherland is very important: “This is the only way possible to preserve the national identity, native language, and culture”.
President told about the measures taken by the Abkhaz leadership for creating normal living conditions for repatriates. Sergey Bagapsh admitted the existence of some problems. “I understand that it’s not easy to call on people from a dynamically developing, safe Turkey to move to Abkhazia that has come out of the war, still having a lot of problems”, Sergey Bagapsh said. President added that the state creates favorable conditions for the compatriots from Turkey wishing to develop their business in Abkhazia.
Turkish journalists were also interested, whether Abkhazia invites Turkish investors.
President emphasized that even now there is Turkish business in the Abkhaz economy. At that he added that mass-media extend untrue information on Abkhazia which prevents from attracting investments.
“Sometimes it comes to such things”, Bagapsh said, “that they write that Russia has seized Abkhazia, it has become its province. It’s not true and can't be true”.
Sergey Bagapsh once again emphasized that Russia is a strategic ally of Abkhazia, which was the first to take a courageous step - the recognition of Abkhazia, helps us grow, and we want to develop relations with her. Our relations in all spheres are regulated by interstate agreements. “Abkhazia is stable today in many respects thanks to Russia, and it creates a favorable investment climate”, the President of Abkhazia said. According to Sergey Bagapsh if Turkish business wishes to come to the Abkhaz market, there are such opportunities so far.
President also answered a great deal of other questions.