CAP Papers 160, CERIA Series, April 2016
By Ruslan Baramidze
The main goal of this study is to examine the influence of state politics on the Muslim community in Georgia. The study analyzes the activities of the state and media reports from 1990 until 2012. For this reason, the processes that took place at central and local levels and corresponding data from electronic media sources were studied, as well as both advantageous and disadvantageous factors related to the activities of the local Muslim organization “Samufto” in the national political context. The subject selected as a main topic of the study is the construction of the new Aziz mosque, named after Abdul-Aziz, who was the 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and ruled from 1861 until 1876, and a mosque with his name was in Batumi until 1940. The construction of the mosque was a part of Georgian-Turkish negotiations over the restoration of Turkish cultural heritage monuments in Georgia and Georgian heritage in Turkey. The arguments and positions formed around the issue of the construction of the Aziz mosque had an important influence on a state religious policy and ongoing political processes especially on the process of the 2012 parliamentary elections, when the new ruling party came to power and started a new phase of relations with the Muslims.