December 1, 2015 by AK
Looking at the map showing the routes of the Russian bomber and its Turkish pursuers, I noticed that the Turkish planes appeared to have taken off from somewhere close to Musa Dagh, where a small group of Armenians resisted Ottoman attacks for seven and a half weeks in the summer of 1915 until evacuated by Allied ships in September. In fact, only 22 miles northwest of the incursion site, on the slopes of Musa Dağı, lies Vakıflı Köyü, the last Armenian village in Turkey.
Also, the Russian plane was reportedly intercepted over the Turkish town of Yayladağı (literally, a mountain with highland pasture: there are lots of yaylas in Crimea). A six-mile drive from Yayladağı across the Syrian border would take one to the historically Armenian town of Kessab, which was captured by Jabhat al-Nusra guerrillas with Turkey’s help and held for three months in 2014. Turkey’s Syrian clients were probably instructed to project an image of moderate Muslims protective of Christian heritage, they could not help setting fire to Armenian churches once the media had shifted the spotlight elsewhere.
Both Vakıflı and Yayladağı are situated in the Turkish province of Hatay, formerly the sanjak of Alexandretta and Antioch, which looks like a protuberance of Turkey’s territory into Syria.
Sovereignty over the province remains disputed with neighbouring Syria… Syria has never formally renounced its rights to it.
Surprisingly, I don’t recall a reference to Hatay’s status and special importance to both Turkey and Syria in the media discussion of the Su-24 incident.