Karadeniz International Scientific Journal

This is an internationally refereed social science journal that is published every three months (quarterly) in electronic-based and print-based since 2009. The journal publishes four issues each year (March, June, September, and December).

The publication language of this journal is Turkish, English, or Russian.

This is an open-access journal. Therefore, all issues and articles published so far can be accessed free of charge from the journal's website.



Levent ÜNAL

In the War of Independence, the Southern Front was first occupied by British and French forces on the grounds of the Mudros Armistice. In reaction to this, after the Sivas Congress, Kuvayımilliye organizations (nationalist forces) started to be established in the region. In this period, the British retreated by handing over the places they occupied to the French and resistance began in the occupied areas. The French forces withdrew first from Maraş and then from Urfa as a result of the people's struggle. When the French were put in a difficult position both in Southern Anatolia and Syria, they requested a temporary ceasefire, and during this period, they gained control in Syria to a great extent. After the temporary ceasefire, the French, who focused on occupation activities in the Antep and Adana region with the forces reinforced from Syria, realized that they could not hold on in the region, even though they achieved partial successes, and consequently, they signed the Ankara Treaty with the Government of the Turkish Grand National Assembly after the Victory of Sakarya and withdrew from the region.

The Southern Front differed from the Eastern and Western Fronts in several ways. These differences were in terms of the nature of the enemy forces, the change in the occupying forces, the integrity of the operational area, the change in the types of operations, the structure and characteristics of the Kuvayımilliye, and the use of Armenians.

On the Southern Front, defense activities and the struggle were carried out in different areas of the front in different ways. In Maraş and Urfa, the battles were mostly fought in the form of urban battles, while in the Adana region, irregular warfare practices were predominant. In Antep, on the other hand, both urban battles and siege-breaking operations took place. While the urban battles in Maraş started in the city center, those in Urfa developed from outside the city center to the city center. The support of the majority of the tribes for the resistance in Urfa was remarkable. The Antep Front stood out with the successful defense of a city surrounded by French forces for 10 months by the people against a far superior enemy. Another important characteristic of the Southern Front is that the first bullet of the National Struggle was shot on this front and the first victories were won on this front.

In fact, the Southern Front is a model front for nations that are occupied by superpowers and have to fight the occupiers on their own without armed forces. There are many important lessons to be learned from what happened on the front. Maintaining research on this front and keeping the memory of the struggle alive is a debt of loyalty to our ancestors who heroically endured there at the cost of their lives.

The aim of this paper is to clarify the differences between the British and French occupations on the Southern Front and the characteristics that distinguish this front from other fronts and to try to portray the whole picture by taking a holistic approach to the developments from the beginning to the end of the struggle on the front. The literature review method and qualitative research model were used for the study.

Keywords: Southern Front, Adana Defense, Maraş Defense, Urfa Defense, Antep Defense.

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