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The ‘Stolen Province’: Why Turkey Was Given A Corner Of Syria By France 80 Years Ago

The years of war against Syria have been long and all the masks have fallen of those who participated and plotted against Syria, and with the exposure of many facts, goals and interests that prompted some countries to participate in the dirty war on Syria, the Turkish position still needs more light and clarification.

Turikish hostile policy and direct support to terrorists places Turkey at the heart of the storm and exposes it to risks. What Turkey has done is played with fire and danced on the edge of the abyss , thanks to its bloody history and hostile policies that have turned its relations with all neighboring countries to zero, as the Turkish state bears direct responsibility for the explosion of the wave of asylum to Europe, and the return of terrorists through it to their countries, which eliminates their chances of joining the European Union and makes it an impossible dream .

This leads us to think about the fundamental goal that required all this madness, which has amounted to the political suicide of Erdogan's regime.

The Ottoman-Erdogan dream of gnawing more Syrian lands made him fierce in supporting, protecting and aiding terrorists, and comes within the framework of renewing his old - new dream, in gnawing what he called the state of Aleppo - according to the map of dividing Syria . In a report by the Russian Sputnik agency, in which it stated that Turkey was able to steal  Liwa Iskanderoun (Alexandretta) from Syria with European support.

The border between Syria and Turkey is a relatively straight line from east to west until it reaches the Orontes river.

Then it suddenly dips and heads southwards for about 80 miles, before turning west again and meeting the Mediterranean just beyond Mount Kilic.

Strategically this little corner of the Levant - known as Liwa Iskanderoun to the Syrians - is vitally important to the Turkish state.

Now called Hatay province, it contains the cities of Antakya and Iskanderun - previously known as Antioch and Alexandretta - and the port of Dortyol, which was known as Chork Marzban to its Armenian population before the genocide which finally ended in 1923.

In that same year the founder of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk, signed the Treaty of Lausanne, which enshrined the boundaries of the Turkish state.

Those borders remain exactly the same today - except for Hatay province, which suddenly joined Turkey in 1939.

Syria, Lebanon and much of the Middle East had been part of the Ottoman Empire until it collapsed after being defeated in the First World War.

Under the Treaty of Lausanne, Hatay was part of the French mandate of Syria and Lebanon but just before the Second World War broke out, Paris suddenly decided to hold a referendum the results of which were doctored with the result that Hatay became a part of Turkey .

Syria became independent in 1945 - with Lebanon as a separate state - and refused to recognize Hatay as part of Turkey.

In the late 1930s, France was growing increasingly worried about an impending war with Hitler’s Germany and French diplomats were desperately trying to sign up potential allies in Europe and the Middle East.

Ataturk died in 1938 and his successor, Ismet Inonu, was keen to continue his Turkish nationalist fervour.

So when the French suggested a treaty of friendship during the upcoming war, Inonu was willing to accept, on one condition that Turkey recover Hatay.

France agreed, but was technically breaching the Treaty of Lausanne, so in order to give it a fig leaf of respectability, the French suggested a referendum.

Hatay was at the time a mixture of nationalities - Turks, Turkmen, Sunni Arabs, Alawites (Alevis), Armenians and even some Greeks - with no clear majority, but Ankara is widely believed to have bussed in Turks from other parts of Anatolia and rigged the result of the referendum.

France and Turkey wanted to completely end the issue of Alexandretta, so the French administration, as a representative of the League of Nations, in 1939 supervised a referendum on joining Alexandretta to Turkey .. After the colonial administrations of the two countries transferred thousands of Turks and settled them in Alexandretta in  preparation for the referendum .. The result came out in favor of Turkey. The Arabs questioned its results .. Since that time, operations began to displace the Syrian Arabs from the Alexandretta and steal their lands and properties .. And it has systematically changed all Arabic names to Turkish names, preventing the circulation of the Arabic language in the Alexandretta under the threat of arms, repression, arrest and displacement. And this matter continued for decades, with disturbances in political relations between the Syria and Turkey, which reached the limits of estrangement .

Haifaa Mafalani