French-Armenian Collaboration in Çukurova (1918-1921)
Keywords: World War I, Mondros Armistice, Çukurova, French-Armenian Collaboration, 1918-1921
The British-French operation to occupy Çukurova, which began after the Mondros Armistice in November 1918, became a definitive French occupation with the "Syrian Agreement" of 15 September 1919. France, which like other former belligerent countries was war weary, could not have sustained this occupation by itself. The local Armenians, who saw France as an instrument to realise their historical and national objectives related to Çukurova, came to its aid. This created also a clear paradox, since in this way French colonial policy became the only basis of Armenian national aspirations. This situation gave birth to Armenian-French collaboration and to the consequent oppression of the local Turkish population by the Armenians. The main reason to push the Armenians towards such a course of action had been France's promise to them of an independent Armenian state in Çukurova. As a matter of fact France's policy in Çukurova was characterised by two parallel courses of action: On the one hand it included Armenians in its military actions and on the other it appointed Armenians to administrative positions in Çukurova. In this article we shall see how in the light of the above-mentioned circumstances, French-Armenian collaboration consequent to France's occupation of Çukurova, had negative repercussions on the local Turkish population.