Tamar Kiknadze, political analyst, told Obieqtivi TV’s political talk show Gamis Studia (Night Studio) on April 24 that the Treaty of Kars envisages the right of Muslim population to participate in a referendum. In particular, she said:
Tamar Kiknadze, political analyst: "Economic and demographic expansion is underway. And if we look through the Treaty of Kars, it says that if it is violated, Turkey and Russia will act as guarantors. If the Muslim population faces any problem, it will be able to hold a referendum.”
Similar message was made ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections by Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi in a pre-election newspaper Sakartvelos Patrioti (Patriot of Georgia) run by Alliance of Patriots political union:
Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, Alliance of Patriots: "They are talking openly and writing an absolute nonsense that a referendum on the status of Adjara will be held in 2021, in connection with the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Kars.”
Besides speculations on the issue of a referendum, other conspiracies are also associated to the Treaty of Kars signed in the city of Kars on October 13, 1921. Below, there are three myths periodically disseminated by various sources in Georgian media, as well as real facts against these conspiracies.
Myth No. 1: The validity period for the Treaty of Kars will expire in 2021; after this period, the agreement reached under the treaty will become questionable.
Sources: Alliance of Patriots; Sakinformi; Vladimir Khomeriki, Russia-based businessman; Giorgi Gvasalia, Police Vice-Colonel
Real facts: The Treaty of Kars is an open-ended agreement, so it does not have an ending date.
The Treaty of Kars was a peace treaty that established the common borders between Turkey and the three Transcaucasian republics of the Soviet Union – Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic and Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. It was signed in the city of Kars on October 13, 1921. Under the treaty, Turkey handed over a great part of Adjara and the city of Gyumri to the Soviet Union, receiving Kars, Artvin and Ardahan in exchange.
The treaty, whose original text is available online, does not contain a provision that would create any legal base for its expiration in 2021. In addition, the agreement on friendship, cooperation and good neighborly relations between the Republic of Georgia and the Republic of Turkey signed on March 25, 1993 reads that the parties "shall observe the treaties and agreements signed by them, among others the October 13, 1921 Treaty of Kars.”
Myth No. 2: In case of deploying a NATO military base in Batumi, starting from 2021 Russia will no more act as a guarantor of the Treaty of Kars and Batumi will become part of Turkey.
Source: Editor of Sakinformi Arno Khidirbegishvili
Real Facts: As already mentioned above, the Treaty of Kars is an open-ended agreement and talking about expiration of its validity as well as Russia’s role as a guarantor is a mere speculation. As for the claims about deployment of a NATO military base in the Poti port, this issue has never been put on the agenda of NATO-Georgia military cooperation. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has no military bases on the territories of non-member states, since it is a military alliance between its member states.
Myth No. 3: The Treaty of Kars envisages the right of Muslim population to participate in a referendum
Sources: Tamar Kiknadze, political analyst, and Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, Alliance of Patriots
Real facts: The Treaty of Kars does not contain an article focusing on the right of the representatives of any religion to participate in a referendum. The right to participate in a referendum is guaranteed by Article 28 of the Constitution of Georgia, according to which every citizen of Georgia who has attained the age of 18 shall have the right to participate in a referendum.