The establishment of a special commission to facilitate the repatriation of ethnic Abkhazians is planned, Soner Gogua, a lawmaker from the breakaway region, said.
In a comment posted on the Abkhaz leader’s website, Gogua said laying out a blueprint for a state program for repatriation would be the major priorityl of the commission. The commission, he said, would include local civil society representatives, as well as ethnic Abkhazians living abroad.
Tens of thousands of Muslim Abkhazians moved to the then Ottoman empire, as part of a larger Muslim migration process from the Caucasus in the nineteenth century.
The repatriation of their descendants is a policy priority of the Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh. Speaking about the demographic situation in Abkhazia in 2005, Bagapsh said that less than 70,000 ethnic Abkhazians lived in the region.