Turkish border crossing at Vale. Wikimapia

Tbilisi, DFWatch – The information about the alleged transfer of 15 acres of land from Georgia to Turkey, which went viral on Georgian media, was untrue.

Yesterday, Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah  published information about the alleged land transfer between Georgia and Turkey.

According to the report, last week Ankara and Tbilisi sealed a deal on transferring 15 acres of land in Samtskhe–Javakheti to Turkey, which ended up on the Georgian side of the border when the dividing river suddenly changed its bed in the 1970s.

The report says that the disputed land was located at the river Çaksu. Three small rivers making up a part of Georgian–Turkish border are called Potskhovistskali (Karaman in Turkish), Jakistskali (Çaksu), and Karzametistskali (Tatalit). The other part of the border is divided by the river Mtkvari (Kura).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia issued a statement, in which it denied any changes to the previously agreed boundary line.

‘The delimitation and demarcation of Georgia’s state border with Turkey was completed in the 1970s, under the Soviet rule. In 1992, the two sides recognized the previously agreed boundary line. Therefore, we entirely exclude the possibility of any negotiation or agreement regarding the boundary or its change. As a result of natural processes, the Jakistskali border river has changed its route. Now works are underway at two sections of the Jakistskali and Karzametistskali border rivers to bring them back to their original course. The rivers will be restored to what were their natural beds according to the border re-demarcation materials of 1973’, the Ministry’s statement reads.

Turkey’s ambassador to Georgia, Zeki Levent Gümrükçü also publically rebuked Daily Sabah’s claims.

‘No land transfer took place between Turkey and Georgia. This month, technical meetings with relevant authorities were held in order to correct the bed of the border river. The Turkish–Georgian border was demarcated in 1970, by mutual agreement, and was recognised by both sides following Georgia’s independence declaration in 1992, when diplomatic relations between our two countries were established. There are no border issues between our countries’, Mr Gümrükçü said.

Daily Sabah is considered in Turkey an English-language mouthpiece of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) and a counterbalance to the more government-critical reporting of Today’s Zaman and Hürriyet Daily News.