Tensions near the border monastery of David Gareji (called Keshikchidagh by Azeries) between Azerbaijan and Georgia have been high these past few days and have seen statements reflecting that from Azerbaijan’s State Border Service and Georgian media. The incident apparently started as news emerged of Georgian activists possibly seeking to travel to the border monastery, which in the past, had given way to tense stand offs between Azeri and Georgian border guards.
The Azeri State Border Service released two statements on the matter. On 3 June, one statement briefly mentioned a plan by Georgian citizens to “violate the state border” (sic) near the monastery through provocative activities and that any provocations on the state border will be promptly dealt with by border guards. The following day, another statement mentioned that a “border violation provocation” (sic) at the previously-mentioned location was countered by joint efforts of Azeri and Georgian border guards.
Georgian media also provided insight on the matter, mentioning that activist leader, David Katsaravi, was called in by police for questioning after news emerged of protest-type events being planned at the monastery during a religious holiday dedicated to celebrating its foundation. Religious leaders and ordinary citizens were also present at the monastery, accompanied by tighter security measures, as in the past such gatherings had given way to tensions.
Photos of the event on the Georgian side provided by Georgian Mtavari TV
Additionally, after an internal investigation Georgia’s State Security Service on 30 May was quoted stating “… in Georgia there are groups of individuals and citizens seeking stir up tensions between ethnic Georgians and Azeris in the Kvemo Kartli and Kakheti regions”, hinting at attempts to disrupt national unity.