“A FOOTHOLD IN APKHAZETI”
23 January, 2014
“A FOOTHOLD IN APKHAZETI”
Interview with Temur Chkonia, a well-known businessman

“Apkhazeti belongs to us!” By this slogan Georgians expressed their protest against inoculation of the McDonald’s brand into Apkhazeti. Who was the initiator of this scheme? Temur Chkonia, owner of the McDonald’s franchise here, spoke with us about the issue:
T.C. – The appearance of the Apkhazeti issue on the McDonald’s site caused a real hullabaloo. I spoke with company lawyers who told me that it was the site manager’s mistake. This issue
isn’t accompanied by a political factor.
Q. – This was taken as if McDonald’s was reshaping a recognized-by-the-world economic map which respects Georgia’s territorial integrity.
A. – Of course, Apkhazeti is an integral part of Georgia. By considering the economic map it was possible to correct the mistake. Believe me, such gigantic companies would not for the world violate a legal document.
This map shows clearly that we have no restaurants in Apkhazeti. For this reason they ask whether it’s possible to build restaurants there. I answer that it is possible, but only after everything is clarified from the legal and economic point of view.
Q. – In a way, you seem to be the initiator of the plan. Why did you decide to start business in the conflict zone?
A. – After regaining this territory it’ll be possible to do business there, and it interests me too. I’m trying to prepare the ground to gain a footing in Apkhazeti.
If Apkhazians want to have the McDonald’s restaurants, nobody will do it without me. They may keep saying that Apkhazeti is an independent country, but in the Central Office there is another economic map, and Apkhazeti is an integral part of Georgia. Nobody will be allowed to enter it because the contract will be infringed.
Q. – Previous authorities controlled many people. They were video-taped and then compromised. Couldn’t you be their target?
A. – I was, and even more than once. Every power uses videos and eavesdropping means… It is bad but at the same time I realize that such offences happen not only in Georgia…

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