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Turkish MFA: Bagapsh's Visit 'Not Official'
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 7 Apr.'11 / 23:54

Ankara reaffirmed its support to Georgia's territorial integrity and said on April 7, that Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh's visit to Turkey was not an official one.

"The visit of Mr. Sergey Bagapsh to Turkey will take place purely on medical grounds upon the invitation by the civil society associations founded by Turkish citizens under their sole responsibility. The visit has by no means an official character," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.

"Turkey attaches the utmost importance to her strategic partnership with Georgia based on traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation in all fields," it said.

"Turkey perfectly shares the sensitivity of Georgia concerning her territorial integrity. In that respect, Turkey respects and supports the territorial integrity of Georgia within her internationally recognized borders, a policy that remains a fundamental position."
"Turkey reconfirms its commitment to deepening the strategic relations between Turkey and Georgia to the benefit of our peoples and the region at large," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

Bagapsh arrived in Ankara on April 7 upon the invitation of the Ankara-based Federation of Caucasian Associations (KAFFED) and Federation of Abkhaz Association.

During the visit, which also includes trips to Istanbul and Adapazarı, a city in northwestern Turkey, Bagapsh plans series of meetings with the Abkhaz diaspora and business circles, his spokesman said on April 7.

Bagapsh in his capacity of de facto president of Abkhazia was first intending to visit Turkey in 2007; but the trip was canceled after Ankara refused to issue entry visa.

Bagapsh visited Turkey more than ten years ago to meet with the Abkhaz diaspora when he served as the breakaway region’s Prime Minister in 1999-2000.

Sergey Shamba, who is now the breakaway region's Prime Minister, was in Turkey in June, 2008 when he was a foreign minister for a private visit upon the invitation of the Caucasus-Abkhazia Solidarity Committee.

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