It may have happened to you that when you want to register on a site or read a global report, you don't know if you should look for Georgia in the list of European countries or in the list of Asian countries because there are both possibilities. Some sources describe Georgia as European and some as Asian. In this post, we try to answer the question: Is Georgia European?
In many cases, the above question is asked by immigration enthusiasts. They want to know if immigration to Georgia will lead to the benefits of a European country. There is a simple answer for this group: No. Georgia has a weak economy and with the current growth, it has no prospects of reaching the level of rich European countries in the next few decades. If we want to answer the above question beyond discussion with those who are interested in immigration and with a technical look, then we will see that this is a complex question and does not have a clear answer. We must first clarify what we mean by Europe. Do we consider Europe to be a geographical or a political or a cultural concept?
Geography of Europe
In the classical definition, large landmasses surrounded by seas are called continents. According to this definition, Asia and Europe are a continent called Eurasia. Swedish researcher Philip Johan von Strahlenberg is said to have suggested for the first time in the 18th century that mountain ranges could also be considered for the demarcation of continents. According to this theory, the Ural Mountains were the border between Europe and Asia.
During the Soviet era, the Caucasus Mountains were also introduced as another border between Europe and Asia. This demarcation has so far been complied with by reputable international authorities, as used by National Geographic maps. Georgia is located in Asia and only a small part of it located around the Terek river თერგი in the Kazbegi region is located in Europe.
Georgia is geographically an Asian country.
Although Georgia is not a member of the European Union rapidly adapting to EU standards in terms of laws and institutions. Georgia's ruling parties are pro-European in the sense that they are strategically and politically oriented toward macro-European policies. Hundreds of non-profit organizations have been set up in Georgia funded by the European Union or European countries. The task of these organizations is to influence public opinion and the culture of the society in order to meet the demands of Europe in this regard.
However, Georgia is not expected to join the European Union in the near future. During a visit to Georgia in 2018, Angela Merkel made it clear that Georgia's accession to the European Union would be a long one.
Georgia is a country that is convergent with Europe.
Is Georgian culture European? Georgian language is the most important cultural indicator in this regard. Georgian does not belong to the group of European languages. But let's not forget that the Georgian language is not in the group of Iranian and Turkish languages. Linguists place the Georgian language in the Kartvelian languages family. The main language spoken in this family, which has the most speakers, is Georgian or Kartuli. In the case of other languages of this family, there is no single opinion. Some consider one member to be an independent language and some consider it to be another dialect of the Georgian language. This is a detailed topic, but so far it is enough to know that Georgian is the unique language.
Relying on language, it may be said that Georgia has a unique culture, but let's not forget that the people are not static. Culture is changing and its orientation is not important. The election of Salome Zourabichvili as President of Georgia is a matter of concern for the Georgian people. Born in Paris and a French citizen, how could the Georgian people not be sensitive to this issue and elect her as president? In an interview with Euronews, Salome Zourabichvili told reporters: "First of all, I want to say that I was elected, not despite being French and European, but that's exactly why." It is in the minds of the Georgian people that they are Europeans, not something they want to strive for, they are Europeans. Apart from what President Zourabichvili says, it is also important to note that national identity in Georgia is based on ethnic identity. Maybe the Georgian people had no problem voting for her because they considered her Georgian, not because they thought they were European. If so, will Georgian society tolerate a Georgian who is also a citizen of Iran, Russia and Turkey achieving a high position in this country? The answer is negative in the author's point of view, but again not because the Georgian people consider themselves European, but because of the negative mentality that has developed over the Persian, Soviet, and Ottoman empires. For a variety of reasons beyond the scope of this talk, there is no sense of resentment or pessimism about European empires, and the Georgian people are mentally ready to join Europe.
Georgia's cultural orientation is towards Europe. As mentioned in the section on political Europe, the country's public organizations and media have played an important role in creating this culture, and it seems that they have had some success in this regard. In Georgia today, homosexuals have their own associations and can hold rallies in enclosed spaces. Girls do not need to present a virginity certificate for marriage, and secularists allow themselves to challenge the country's spiritual leader . There are many examples, none of which could have been imagined two or even a decade ago, but today they are in line with Europe. The direction of cultural change in Georgia is in the direction of Europe, and European identity is taking shape in public opinion.
Is Georgia European?
Georgia is geographically located in Asia but politically, culturally and socially closer to Europe. The prospects for Georgia's accession to the European Union are unclear. Let's not forget that the union faces many challenges and powers such as China are infiltrating the Caucasus region.
Perhaps the best description is that Georgia is Europe's neighbor and friend.