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Abstract


TURKMENS DURING THE PERIOD OF HAFEZ AL-ASSAD
Syria, our neighbor with whom Turkey has its longest border, is home to our Turkmen cognates sinking into oblivion who have a centuries-old accumulation of history and culture there. In the past, Syrian Turkmens suffered from dramatic pressures after Syria was taken out of the control of Ottoman Empire and a French mandate government was established in the region at the end of the World War I. Likewise, during and after annexation of Hatay by Turkey, the Arabian governments tried to assimilate Turkmens in the Arab majority, who were Sunni Muslim like them, developing policies of pressure and assimilation against Turkmens. The lack of Turkish policies for protecting the rights of the Turks in Syria following the annexation of Hatay by the country opened new doors for the Arabian governments in this regard. Baath Party, ruling the country since 1963 and Hafez Al-Assad, leading the Baath Party as of 1970, maintained the policy of assimilation against Syrian Turkmens more strictly. The Turkmens, considered as the remainder of Ottoman Empire and the spies of Turkey by Assad government, were deprived of many rights and prevented from creating political and economic power in the country. The border, water and terror problems between Turkey and Syria during the period of Assad worsened the policy of pressure and suppression against Turkmens. As a result of this policy of assimilation and pressure, some Turkmens were arabicized and has lost their language and even their identities. The traces of Turkish presence of hundreds of years in Syria were thus tried to be obliterated.

Keywords
Syrian Turkmens, Baath Regime, Hafez Al-Assad Era, Arabization Policy, Turkey-Syria relations


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