- Hatay Province
Infobox Province TR
total population= 1,386,224
licence = 31
area_code= 326| Hatay is a province of southern
Turkey, on the Mediterraneancoast, with Syriato the south and east.
46% of the land is mountain, 33% plain and 20% plateau and hillside. The most prominent feature is the north-south leading
Nur Mountainsand the highest peak is Mığırtepe (2240m), other peaks include Ziyaret dağı and Keldağ (Jebel Akra or Casius) at 1739 m. The folds of land that make up the landscape of the province were formed as the land masses of Arabian-Nubian Shieldand Anatoliahave pushed into each other, meeting here in Hatay, a classic example of the Horst- grabenformation. The Orontes Riverrises in the Bekaa Valleyin KLebanon and runs through Syriaand Hatay and into the Mediterraneanat its delta in Samandağ. There was a lake in the plain of Amikbut this was drained in the 1970s, and today Amik is now the largest of the plains that are important centres of agricultural production in Hatay. The climate of Hatay is typical of the Mediterranean, with warm wet winters and hot, dry summers. The mountain areas inland are drier than the coast. There are some mineral deposits, Iskenderunis home to Turkey's largest iron and steel plant, and the district of Yayladağıproduces a colourful marble called the "Rose of Hatay".
The administrative capital is
Antakya( Antioch), while the largest city in the province is the port city of İskenderun( Alexandretta). There are border crossing points with Syriain the district of Yayladağıand at "Cilvegözü" in the district of Reyhanlı.
Hatay is one of the most cosmopolitan provinces of Turkey, home to communities of various races and religions including Turks, Arabs and
Armenians, Sunniand AleviMuslims and Christians of many demoninations. The village of "Vakıflıköy" in the district of Samandağis Turkey's last remaining rural Armenian community while Arabs form the majority in three districts out of the twelve in Hatay: Samandağ("Suwaidiyyah") ( Alawi), Altınözü("Qusair") and Reyhanlı("Rihaniyyah") ( Sunni). Unlike most Mediterraneanprovinces Hatay has not experienced mass immigration from other parts of Turkey in recent decades and has therefore preserved much of its traditional culture, for example Arabic is still widely spoken in the province. [ [http://www.radikal.com.tr/haber.php?haberno=159475&tarih=23/07/2005 Radikal-çevrimiçi / Türkiye / Samandağ'da 'Alluş'la dans ] ] To celebrate this cultural mix, in 2005 "Hatay Meeting of Civilisations" congress was organised by Dr Aydın Bozkurtof Mustafa Kemal University and his "Hatay Association for the Protection of Universal Values". [ [http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=24386 Spiritual leaders speak up in Hatay for global peace - Turkish Daily News Sep 27, 2005 ] ]
Hatay is warm enough to grow tropical crops such as
sweet potatoand sugar cane, and these are used in the local cuisine, along with other local specialities including a type of cucumber/squash called kitte. Well-known dishes of Hatay include the syrupy-pastry künefe, squash cooked in onions and tomato paste ( sıhılmahsi}, the aubergine and yoghurt paste ( Baba ghanoush), and the chick-pea paste hummusas well as dishes such as kebabwhich are found throughout Turkey. In general the people of Hatay produce lots of spicy dishes including the walnut and spice paste muhammara), the spicy köftecalled oruk, the thymeand parsleypaste Za'atarand the spicy sun-dried cheese called Surke. Finally syrup of pomegranateis a popular salad dressing particular to this area. Mustafa Kemal Universityis one of Turkey's newer tertiary institutions, founded in Antakyain 1992.
Antiochfor the ancient history of this town and district. With its easy climate, fertile soil this crossing point between Syriaand Anatoliais one of the longest-established areas in the region, settled since the early Bronze Age, once part of the Akkadian Empire, then the AmoriteKingdom of Yamhad, then a succession of Hittites, the late-Hittite “Hattena” people that later gave the modern province of Hatay its name, then Assyriansand Persians. The region was the center of the Hellenistic Seleucid empire, with the four Greek cities of the Syrian tetrapolis( Antioch, Seleucia Pieria, Apamea, and Laodicea). Later on, the city of Antioch became and important regional centre of the Roman Empirefrom 64BC onwards.
The arrival of Islam
The area was conquered by the armies of
Islamin 638 and came under the control of the Ummayadand Abbasid Arabdynasties. Then following the first Turkish conquest by the Tolunoğullarıtribe in 877 Hatay was controlled by various Turkish emirates, under the umbrella of the Seljuksand the Aleppo-based Hamdanoğulları. Then in 969 the city of Antiochplayed an important role in the First Crusadeand was brought within the Byzantine Empireas a result. Eventually Hatay was captured from the Crusaders by the Mameluks.
History of Hatay: The Sanjak of Alexandretta
By the time it was taken from the Mameluks by the Ottoman Sultan
Selim Iin 1516 Antakya was a medium-sized town on 2km² of land between the Orontes Riverand Mount Habib Neccar. Under the Ottomans the area was known as the sanjak (or governorate) of Alexandretta. The famous British female traveller Gertrude Bellin her book Syria The Desert & the Sownpublished in 1907 wrote extensively about her travels across Syria including Antioch & Alexandretta and she noted the heavy mix between Turks and Arabs in the region at that time. A map published circa 1911 highlighted that the ethnic make up of northern parts of the region (Alexandretta) was Turkish, while the southern parts (Antioch) were mostly made up of Arabs.
Many consider that Alexandretta had been traditionally part of the region of Syria. Maps as far back as 1764 confim this [http://historic-cities.huji.ac.il/turkey/iskenderun/maps/roux_1764_pl_115.html] . After the WWI and the
Turkish Independence Warthe Ottoman Empirewas disbanded and modern Turkeywas created, but Alexandretta was not part of the new republic, it was put within in the French mandate of Syriaafter a signed agreement between the Allies and Turkey Treaty of Sevres. The document detailing the boundary between Turkey and Syria around 1920 and subsequent years is presented in a report by the Official Geographer of The Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the USA's Department of State, which could be accessed via this link [http://www.law.fsu.edu/library/collection/LimitsinSeas/IBS163.pdf] .
Despite this, an important Turkish community remained in Alexandretta and the government of the newly-founded
Turkish Republicwere determined to protect these people, with Atatürkhimself stating that "Hatay has been a Turkish homeland for 40 decades".
A French-Turkish treaty of 20 October 1921 rendered the Sanjak of Alexandretta autonomous, and remained so from 1921 to 1923. As well as Turks the population of the Sanjak included: Arabs of various religious denominations (
SunniMuslims, Alawites, Syriac Orthodox, Greek Orthodox); Greek Catholics, Maronites; Jews; Assyrians; Kurds; and Armenians. In 1923 Hatay was attached to the State of Aleppo, and in 1925 it was directly attached to the French mandate of Syria, still with special administrative status.
The 1936 elections in the sanjak returned two MPs favoring the independence of Syria from France, and this prompted communal riots as well as passionate articles in the Turkish and Syrian press. This then became the subject of a complaint to the
League of Nationsby the Turkish government under Mustafa Kemal Atatürkconcerning alleged mistreatment of the area's Turkish populations. Atatürk demanded that Hatay become part of Turkey, claiming that the majority of its inhabitants were Turks. The sanjak was given autonomy in November 1937 in an arrangement brokered by the League. Under its new statute, the sanjak became 'distinct but not separated' from the French mandate of Syriaon the diplomatic level, linked to both France and Turkey for defence matters.
The allocation of seats in the sanjak assembly was based on the 1938 census held by the French authorities under international supervision: out of 40 seats, 22 were given to the Turks and 18 for the Arabs and their Armenian allies (nine for Alawi Arabs, five for Armenians, two for Sunni Arabs, and two for Christian Arabs). The assembly was appointed in the summer of 1938 and the French-Turkish treaty settling the status of the Sanjak was signed on 4th July 1938. There is evidence that the results would have been different had the Turks not bused into the province a huge mumber of Turkish citizens and followed a pattern of discrimination against the other ethnic groups (Such as the infamous Musa Dagh battle [http://mousaler.com] 19 years earlier where Armenians where expelled by force).
Musa Daghwas immortalised in the story of The Forty Days of Musa Dagh.
Republic of Hatay
2 September 1938as the Second World Warloomed ever more ominously over Europe the assembly proclaimed the Republic of Hatay, taking as an excuse that rioting had broken out between Turks and Arabs.Fact|date=February 2007 The Republic lasted for one year under joint French and Turkish military supervision. The name "Hatay" itself was proposed by Atatürk and the government was under Turkish control. The president Tayfur Sökmenwas a member of Turkish parliament elected in 1935 (representing Antalya(Greek: Αττάλεια)) and the prime minister Dr. Abdurrahman Melek, was also elected to the Turkish parliament (representing Gaziantep) in 1939 while still holding the prime-ministerial post. Fact|date=February 2007
Hatay Province of Turkey
Sökmen was to be the only president of the
Republic of Hatayas in 1939, following a popular referendumit became a Turkish province. The Hassa district of Gaziantep and Dörtyoldistrict of Adana were then incorporated to the province in order to increase the Turkish proportion of the population.Fact|date=February 2007 The result was a flight of many Arabs and Armeniansfrom Hatay to other parts of Syria. France's willingness to accede to Turkish demands was at least partly influenced by its government's wariness of getting involved in a potential overseas conflict while Germanyposed a clear military threat on its immediate borders.Fact|date=February 2007 As World War IIbegan just afterwards, the League of Nations didn't have time to give its opinion about this cession.Fact|date=February 2007
Turkish-Syrian dispute over the Hatay Province
There is a deep rooted disagreement between Turkey and Syria over the Hatay Province.
Syrians hold the view that this land was illegally ceded to Turkey by France, the mandatory occupying power of Syria in the late 1930s. Syria still considers it an integral part of its own territory. Syrians call this land "Liwaaa aliskenderuna" ( _ar. لواء الاسكندرون) rather than the Turkish name of Hatay.
referendumwhich was organized in 1939 by the French-backed Republic of Hatayremains a cause of tension in relations between Turkey and Syria. The referendum has been labelled phoney by the journalist Robert Fisk[http://news.independent.co.uk/fisk/article2371575.ece] . Official Syrian maps still show Hatay as a part of Syria (e.g. [http://www.parliament.gov.sy/ar/syria.php] ). Historical details of this transfer of land from Syrian sovereignty to Turkish rule are given in "The Alexandretta Dispute" article published in the American Journal of International Law [http://www.jstor.org/view/00029300/di981657/98p0537c/0] .
The French decision to cede the province to Turkey influenced Syrian President
Hashim al-Atassito resign in protest at continued French intervention in Syrian affairs, maintaining that the French were obliged to refuse the annexation under the Franco-Syrian Treaty of Independence of 1936. However, under the leadership of Syrian Presdident Bashar al Assadfrom 2000 onwards there was a lessening of tensions between Turkeyand Syriaover the Hatay issue. Indeed, in early 2005, when visits from Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezerand Turkish prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğanopened a way to discussions between two states, it was claimed that the Syrian government announced it had no claims to sovereignty concerning Hatay any more. [http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/586] . On the other hand there has been no official announcement by the Syrians relinquishing their rights of sovereignty.
Following changes to Turkish land registry legislation in 2003 a large number of properties in Hatay were purchased by Syrian nationals, mostly people who in fact had been residents of Hatay since the 1930s but had retained their Syrian citizenship and were in fact buying the properties that they already occupied. By 2006 the amount of land owned by Syrian nationals in Hatay exceeded the legal limit for foreign ownership of 0.5%, and sale of lands to foreigners was prohibited. [ [http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/4558885.asp?m=1&gid=69 Hürriyet - Hatay'da yabancılara gayrimenkul satışı durduruldu ] ] (see
Foreign purchases of real estate in Turkeyfor more details}.
There has been a policy of cross border co-operation, on the social and economic level, between Turkey and Syria in the recent years. This allowed related families divided by the winded border to freely visit each other during the festive periods of
Christmasand Eid. In December 2007 up to 27'000 Syrians and Turks crossed to border to visit their brethren on the other side. [http://www.turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=208044] [http://www.worldbulletin.net/news_detail.php?id=15361]
Places of interest
With its hilly countryside and a number of places of historical and religious interest Hatay is attractive to visitors. There are a number of music and folklore festivals held in the province each year. Particular sites of interest include:
* the world's second-largest collection of Roman
mosaicsin Antakya museum
* the rock-carved Church of St Peter in Antakya, a site of Christian pilgrimage.
* Gündüz cinema, once used as parliament building of the Republic of Hatay.
* The tunnel of
Vespasian, in Samandağı, built as a water channel in the 2nd century.
Mehmet Aksoy- sculptor (b. Hatay 1939 - ) [http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=101239]
Semir Aslanyürek- film director (b. Antakya 1956 - )
Hamdi Alkan- the actor and TV comedian known as Reyting Hamdi
Selami Şahin- singer, (b. Yayladağı1948 - )
Gökhan Güney- Arabesquesinger
Gökhan Zan- Beşiktaşfootballer, (b. Hatay )
Hatay in popular culture
Hatay figured in the
Indiana Jonesmovie " Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", where it was portrayed as the final resting place of the Holy Grail in the "canyon of the crescent moon" outside of Alexandretta. In the movie, the Nazis offer the " sultanof Hatay" precious valuables to compensate for removing the Grail from his borders. He ignores the valuables, but accepts their Rolls-Royce Phantom II.
The Turkish film "Propaganda" [http://www.febiofest.cz/11_en/detail_filmu.php?filmid=2004336] , realised in 1999 by
Sinan Çetin, portrays the difficult materialisation of the Turkish-Syrian border in 1948, cutting through villages and families.
The 2001 film "Şelale" by local director
Semir Aslanyürekwas filmed in Hatay.
* fr Elizabeth Picard, 'Retour au Sandjak', Maghreb-Machrek (Paris) n°99, jan.-feb.-March 1982
* [http://antakyam.net/ pictures Photo Galery]
* [http://www.hatay.gov.tr/ the provincial governor's website]
* [http://www.pbase.com/dosseman/Antakya Pictures of
* [http://www.pbase.com/dosseman/antakya_museum Pictures of Antakya Museum]
* [http://www.hatayportal.org/galeri/ Pictures of Hatay]
* [http://www.hataygazetesi.com/ the local newspaper]
* [http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/tr-hatay.html Flag and info of the Republic of Hatay]
* [http://www.mku.edu.tr/ Mustafa Kemal University]
* [http://www.turkeyforecast.com/weather/hatay/ Hatay Weather Forecast Information]
* [http://www.asyaradyo.com Hatay Radios Station]
* [http://www.antakya.tv/ Tourist Information and pictures about Hatay/Antakya with Webcams and weather information]
* [http://www.hatayradyosu.com Hatay Radio Station]
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