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Home arrow History arrow The Last Ottoman Generation and the Making of the Modern Middle East


The success of Yasin al-Hashimi in Baghdad, the Syrian and Palestine general strikes, the Franco-Syrian Treaty, and the uprising in Palestine gave rise to a mood of hope and optimism in summer 1936.100 Former Ottoman Arabs could believe they were emerging from the long nightmare that began in 1911 and 1912. They could believe that Yasin Pasa was about to lead their region into a new era of unity, justice, freedom, and dignity equal to that enjoyed by their Turkish former compatriots. These hopes came crashing to earth with the Iraq coup, the death of Yasin al-Hashimi, the failure of Syrian independence, and the end of the Palestine revolt. The Arabs were confronted by ominous forces outside their control.

On the same day as Yasin al-Hashimi’s flight to Syria, November 1, 1936, Mustafa Kemal gave a speech to the National Assembly in Ankara in which he announced his intention to claim the region of the port of Aleppo at Iskandarun, and its surrounding Sanjaq for the Turkish Republic. Negotiations with France had been ongoing for more than a decade. Ataturk enthusiastically embraced the League of Nation’s language of ethnic nationhood when he proclaimed the matter concerned the whole of the Turkish people, owing to the region’s “purely Turkish character.” Thus crisis piled on crisis, the remaining threads of Ottoman brotherhood were finally severed, and Ismet Inonu's advice to Musa Kazim al-Husayni at Lausanne in 1923, that the Ottoman Arabs were on their own, came to its logical conclusion.101

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