Halil Özşavlı

Keywords: Alexandretta, Armenians, Immigration, Resettlement

Abstract

The last mass migration of Armenians from Turkey took place in 1939 when Iskenderun Sanjak (Alexandretta) became a Turkish province. However, during years of French Mandate, the French authorities informed a demographic engineering here and non-muslim population was increased against the Turkish population. Thus, the seven thousand Armenian population of Alexandretta of 1914 was increased to nine thousand and to twenty for thousand in 1936. The reason for that much increase of the Armenian population was the Resettlement Project of the League of Nations which started in 1927 to assist the Armenian refugees who were living in destitute conditions in the camps located in Beirut and Aleppo. As part of this project thirteen thousand Armenians were settled to the rural and urban areas of Alexandretta. But, first when the Turkish army entered Alexandretta in 1938 according the treaty signed between Turkey and France and then when Alexandretta became a Turkish province in 1939, about eighteen thousand Armenians immigrated to Syria and Lebanon prefering to live under the French Mandate rather than the Turkish administration.