Wednesday, October 08, 2014

ISIS recognizes the Hatay province as Turkish

A series of links led me to this Vox explainer card. The thing that struck me in the second map is that the group is not aspiring to control Hatay province in Turkey.

Hatay is that little nub of territory that juts down into Syria along the Mediterranean coast (in the red circle above). It is essentially where the Roman Byzantine city of Antioch is, with the surrounding country. Antioch still exists and is now called "Antakya." Hatay is the only predominantly Arab province of Turkey. It was briefly an independent 'Republic of Hatay" in the 9 month period in the late 1930s before it was taken over by Turkey. Syria has never recognized Hatay as Turkish. The Syria map I bought in Damascus in 2005 has the entire province inside Syrian borders and presents Antakya as a Syrian city.

Anyway, even though they are not Arab nationalists like the Baathist regime in Syria, I was surprised that ISIS, with its expansive ambitions for the region, didn't claim it as part of their eventual territory.