Restrictions, imposed for the Georgian citizens on crossing into Turkey, were still in place as of Saturday noon, night after a coup attempt in neighboring Turkey and clashes in Ankara and Istanbul left dozens of people dead.
Citing security concerns, Tbilisi has decided to temporarily impose restrictions on the border with Turkey; as a result Georgian citizens are not allowed to cross into Turkey, otherwise border-crossing point with Turkey in Sarpi, Adjara Autonomous Republic, remains open.
Announcing the decision after an overnight emergency meeting of the National Security Council, PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili suggested that the restrictions would be removed as soon as situation stabilizes in Turkey.
Amid overnight coup attempt in Turkey, Georgian leadership gathered at an emergency meeting of the National Security Council at the presidential palace in Tbilisi shortly after 3am local time on Saturday to discuss potential implications of developments in Turkey, which Tbilisi describes as its “strategic partner” and which is Georgia’s largest trading partner.
After the meeting, which lasted for over an hour, President Giorgi Margvelashvili and PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili condemned coup attempt in Turkey and expressed support to democratically elected government.
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“We want to express our support to the democratically elected government in Turkey, and personally to President Erdoğan,” President Margvelashvili said.
“Military coups are unacceptable for any democratic country,” PM Kvirikashvili said.
Flights to Turkey were suspended. Flights to and from Istanbul are among the busiest routes at the Tbilisi International Airport.
Georgian ambassador to Turkey, Irakli Koplatadze, told Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 TV via phone on Saturday that there were about 80 Georgian citizens stranded at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport.
Georgia’s Economy Minister, Dimitri Kumsishvili, said that Istanbul headquartered airline AtlasGlobal will conduct unscheduled flight from Istanbul later on Saturday afternoon to bring back Georgian citizens who are at the Istanbul airport.
He also said that the Georgian authorities remain in touch with the Turkish government and added that Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze spoke with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu via phone on Saturday.
Georgia’s opposition UNM party has also expressed concern over the developments in Turkey and said that “peace, stability, and functioning of democratic institutions in our neighbor and strategic partner is of vital importance for Georgia.”