Kırıkkale Üniversitesi

Keywords: Abdurrahman Melek, Abdülgani Türkmen, France, Hatay State, İskenderun Port, Tayfur Sökmen.


When the Ottoman Empire collapsed, Hatay (Antakya) was a territory connected to Iskenderun Sanjak, which was within the borders of the National Pact. However, Iskenderun Sanjak remained outside the borders of modern Turkey as a result of the Treaty of Lausanne. Despite all the efforts of Turkey, this territory was left to the French mandate because of the attitude of Britain and France. However, Turkey did not renounce its claims on this region. Indeed, Turkey had planned to annex Iskenderun Sanjak and implemented this plan step by step. In this way, Turkey responded to France's diplomatic game and made an extraordinary effort to ensure that Hatay was an independent state from Syria. Turkey ensured the separation of Hatay from Syria by resorting to all political and legal means. As a matter of fact, Turkey ensured the establishment of a new independent state in Hatay on September 2, 1938. Tayfur Sökmen was elected president of the state and Abdülgani Türkmen was elected president of the parliament. According to the constitution, Tayfur Sökmen appointed Mr. Abdurrahman Melek to the Prime Ministry to form a government.

Political, military and legal aspects on Hatay issue have been discussed heavily in previous studies on the matter. As a matter of fact, these issues were highlighted in the books, articles, memoirs and conferences presented. Because while the establishment phase of Hatay State took a long time, the state life was short. Therefore, it may be concluded that economic issues have been overshadowed by military, political and legal issues. Since there is no independent study on the economic relations of the Republic of Turkey and the State of Hatay, this issue is specifically addressed in this paper. There seems to be almost no sufficient information on the economic relations of Hatay State with Turkey, especially in the research works. Therefore, the economic relations between the two states were discussed based on archival documents, laws, regulations, texts of agreements in the official gazette, local and national newspapers and other official publications rather than research works and memoirs. From these examinations, it is clearly seen that Hatay State’s organization was shaped according to the example of Turkey and that the institutions related to economic issues were formed according to their counterparts in Turkey. Turkey transferred its experience to Hatay State by supporting the establishment of these institutions in terms of both civil servant and legislation. This is clearly understood from the correspondence between the two states. In the article, economic activities are emphasized after the issues related to the organization between the two states are discussed. Existing information in documents and official publications related to import and export has been evaluated. It is clear that some of the economic activities between Hatay State and the Republic of Turkey have not been reflected in the statistics. Hatay State joined Turkey before many issues were reflected in the statistics, which generally express the total of economic activities at the end of the year. Hatay was in the position of a state that dissolved itself before it could complete its establishment and before it had the opportunity to operate its establishments definitively. At the same time, it is not possible to fully reveal the economic relations between the two states, because there are not enough resources as mentioned above. Thus, existing sources and especially archival documents are evaluated and a subject that has not been emphasized much in previous studies is discussed in this paper.