Georgian region hails Turkey as 'strategic partner'
Top leader from Georgia's Autonomous Republic of Adjara says Turkey has always supported Georgia's territorial integrity
Turkey has always supported Georgia's territorial integrity, the top leader in Georgia's Autonomous Republic of Adjara said on Friday.
"Turkey is our strategic partner, and Turkey has always been a supporter of Georgia's territorial integrity," Adjara government Chairman Zurab Pataradze said on a visit to Turkey's northeastern Trabzon province, some 190 kilometers (118 miles) from the Georgian/Adjaran border.
Pataradze also said Turkey has "substantially" contributed to the country's NATO integration process.
Georgia has long lobbied for membership in the EU and NATO, aspirations that were exacerbated by Russia’s 2008 invasion that resulted in the separation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Tbilisi’s control.
Tbilisi fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008 over the territories but lost control of both. Russia later recognized both South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.
Adjara lies in northwestern Georgia, bordering Turkey's northeastern Black Sea region, and is a former Ottoman territory. It has a sizeable Muslim minority population.