‘Armenian Genocide’ Remarks Triggers Incident In Parliament

‘ARMENIAN GENOCIDE’ REMARKS TRIGGERS INCIDENT IN PARLIAMENT

Civil Georgia
24 Apr.’12 / 17:19
Tbilisi

Remarks by an opposition lawmaker about Armenian community’s calls for
recognizing the 1915 mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire
as genocide, triggered an incident during the parliamentary session on
April 24 involving a brief scuffle and exchange of insults between MPs.

As part of routine statements, usually made by MPs during sessions
on Tuesdays, MP Jondi Bagaturia from the opposition parliamentary
faction, Unity for Justice, took the floor from the Parliament’s
rostrum to speak of various issues and one of the issues he raised
was last year’s decision by the Georgian Parliament to recognize
19th century massacre and deportations of Circassians by the Tsarist
Russia in the northwest Caucasus as genocide. He recalled this decision
and criticized it in the context of requests from Georgia’s Armenian
community to recognize the massacre of Armenians in Ottoman Empire as
genocide – such appeals are usually made almost every year in April,
when the anniversary of those tragic events are marked.

“When you recognized Circassians’ genocide just for the purpose of
a one-day PR show, we [warned] you not to do that, because we would
have nothing to tell to our Armenian citizens. I wonder what are
you going to tell these people now? These are our citizens; these
are our compatriots; you [referring to ruling party MPs] should bear
responsibility for that,” MP Bagaturia said.

Remarks triggered angry reaction from Azer Suleimanov, a ruling party
majoritarian lawmaker from Marneuli single-mandate constituency in
Kvemo Kartli region, predominantly populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis.

MP Suleimanov was shouting at MP Bagaturia while the latter was
speaking.

“I’ll take care of you when I leave [Parliament’s] rostrum, give me
some time,” MP Bagaturia responded to MP Suleimanov.

Then MP Suleimanov approached the rostrum holding, what seemed to be,
a cream tube and tossed it on the rostrum in front of PM Bagaturia,
telling him: “Here is a present to you from the Azerbaijani people.”

MP Bagaturia responded by throwing the tube back at MP Suleimanov;
then a Parliament marshal, overseeing rules and order in the chamber,
as well as some ruling party lawmakers rushed to the rostrum, dragging
MP Bagaturia away and for next few minutes lawmakers involved in the
incident continued exchanging verbal insults.

Few minutes later MP Suleimanov took the floor and in his remarks
he dubbed MP Bagaturia as “Bagaturyan”, calling him “our Armenian
colleague”.

“[MP Bagaturia] unfortunately remains stick to his Armenian opinion
about Armenia from sea to sea and about made-up genocide. What
genocide are you talking about? Your Armenian bandits killed over
60,000 Azerbaijanis in 1918 in various parts of Azerbaijan…” MP
Suleimanov said, but was immediately interrupted by Parliamentary
Chairman, Davit Bakradze, who ordered to turn off microphone.

“There will be no speeches any more about this issue; this is
very sensitive and painful issue,” Bakradze said, adding that “our
brotherly” nations of Armenia, Azerbaijan, as well as of Turkey “have
undergone through a very difficult history and I really do not want
this difficult history to become a topic for emotional and political
discussion in this chamber.”

“Pain of Armenian nation is a pain for us too; the same is about
Azerbaijan and Turkey, because all three are our neighbors and
friends,” Bakradze added.

In their speeches later during the same session, several lawmakers,
both from the ruling party and parliamentary minority, touched upon
the incident with some of them slamming MP Bagaturia for raising the
issue and describing him as “a provocateur.”

“I absolutely agree with you when you turned off the microphone for
[MP Suleimanov],” a ruling party lawmaker Akaki Bobokhidze told the
parliamentary speaker and asked him to apply the same rule to others
whose “remarks are obviously provocative”.

“Bagaturia is an obvious provocateur, who spares no efforts to trigger
problems with those countries, which are our friends,” he added.

“Bagaturia is a provocateur,” Guram Chakhvadze, a lawmaker from the
parliamentary minority group, said. “What he said today is directed
against the Georgian national interests.”

MP Giorgi Targamadze, leader of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM)
and of parliamentary minority group, said “caution is needed when
speaking on issues like this.”

“It is about a very delicate issue, which may trigger very complicated
processes, which may harm everyone,” he continued. “I’m not going
to lecture anyone. The fact is that this Parliament is an example
of friendly cooperation between Georgian, Armenian, Azerbaijani
[MPs] regardless of our political views… I understand emotions that
followed statements made here… but my request would be to put an end
to this incident. We respect our shared problems; focusing on certain
episodes of our past, which may distance our nations, should not be our
goal… I want to express my respect to all of those ethnic Armenians
and Azerbaijanis who take part in building of the new Georgian state.”

Comments on the issue were concluded by remarks from Parliamentary
Chairman, Davit Bakradze, who said: “One of the great things that
has been done in Georgia in recent years is the fact that notion of
‘Georgian citizen’ has been firmly rooted in our country and regardless
of our ethnic background we are all equal citizens of this country.”

“The biggest enmity one can do against Georgia today is to divide
Georgia based on ethnicity,” Bakradze continued. “So I call on
colleagues not to, wittingly or unwittingly, do something that is
damaging for our country, not to divide our citizens and not to
trigger confrontation with Georgia’s neighbors.”

“As far as emotions are concerned, I understand it, because the issue
is one of the most painful for our neighboring and brotherly peoples;
we have gone together through a difficult and tragic history and
there have been many tragic pages in this history, recalling of which
always triggers emotions; but I want to state once again that because
this is the Georgian Parliament, there will be no statement in this
chamber that may insult our brotherly Armenian nation; because this
is the Georgian Parliament there will be not a single statement in
this chamber that may insult our brotherly Azerbaijani people and the
pain, the tragedy which our neighboring nations have gone through is
the pain and tragedy for us too; but this tragedy does not require
political speeches in this chamber and such speculations which we’ve
heard from some of our colleagues.”

“So let’s not yield to provocative remarks,” Bakradze added. “Let’s
not entertain our enemy with our shared pain.”

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS