January 19, 2011
The Georgian Patriarchate voiced criticism over talks on restoration of ancient Georgian churches in Turkey and mosques in Georgia.
“The Patriarchate is an owner of all Georgian Orthodox churches, including those located abroad, whereas the government has a commitment to hold talks with the other side. Therefore, the list of the churches presented to the Turkish side and terms of negotiations should be agreed with their owner - the Georgian Patriarchate. This was not done,” the statement reads, Interfax reported. It is mentioned that there are a lot of new mosques functioning in Georgia. “Why at least 2-3 Georgian churches cannot be open in Turkey in exchange?”
According to press reports, the Georgian and Turkish governments are negotiating restoration of four Georgian churches in the territory of Turkey and four mosques and a bath in Georgia.
The document says it is necessary to determine who will be the owner of churches restored in Turkey, and mosques renovated in Georgia. The Patriarchate also expressed hope that the offers will be acceptable to both sides to make relations more constructive.