Georgian Dream (GD) majority group leader in the parliament had to apologize after a controversial MP from GD, Gogi Topadze, suggested that Turkey occupies Georgian territories.
Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze also had to denounce MP Topadze’s remarks.
This is not the first time when parliamentary majority group and the government had to distance themselves from MP Topadze’s remarks.
His anti-Western rhetoric and comments justifying Stalin’s mass repressions have put him at odds with ruling coalition’s declared policies for number of times in the past.
In early November, 2015, he announced about intention to quit the parliament in order not to make his “views on some issues an obstacle for the coalition”; he, however, also said at the time that he would “take final decision only after” the parliament adopts his bill on making Georgia “GMO free zone”. Although the bill was adopted last week, MP Topadze does not appear having intention to quit.
In early February Topadze stirred controversy when in his rebuttal speech to President’s annual state of the nation address in the Parliament, he used term Down’s syndrome in a derogatory context, causing widespread condemnation. He then accused Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party of manipulating Sagarejo MP by-election results last October; the allegation triggered infighting within the ruling coalition which still remains unresolved.
He again grab attention on March 9 by his remarks on Turkey made at a committee hearing in the Parliament during discussing Georgia’s talks with Russia’s Gazprom.
When responding to opposition UNM party’s criticism over government’s talks with Gazprom, MP Topadze said: “They [the opposition] build their criticism upon the [notion] that we should not talk with Gazprom because Russia occupied our territories… If we use such an approach, then what about Turkey from where so much garbage is imported [to Georgia] – are not our territories occupied there [in Turkey]?”
GD MP Zviad Kvatchantiradze said in his capacity as the leader of the parliamentary majority group: “I want to apologize for the remarks made by [Topadze], which we think is incorrect statement towards our friend and partner, Turkey. I want to reaffirm that this opinion [voiced by Topadze] is not shared by either the parliamentary majority or the Georgian authorities.”
Foreign Minister, Mikheil Janelidze, said: “On behalf of the government and the Foreign Ministry, I want to distance myself from those remarks by Gogi Topadze.”
“On behalf of the Foreign Ministry and the Government, I would like to dissociate from the statement made by Gogi Topadze. Turkey, being Georgia’s friend and strategic partner, strongly supports our country’s territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Turkey is our major partner in trade, economic and investment spheres. We are deepening our bilateral cooperation with Turkey on a daily basis, which is based on long-lasting friendship, mutual respect and strategic cooperation,” the Georgian Foreign Minister said.