During the last months, the Turkish border region Gaziantep earned special attention by international media agencies. Although, Gaziantep has always been a central hub of world affairs – not only since the current terrorist activities by the Islamic State.
In 1918, after the Ottoman Empire was defeated and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk made out plans for the liberation of what later became the ‘Türkiye Cumhuriyeti’ (Republic of Turkey), the word ‘Gazi’ – which can be translated as ‘fighter’ – was suffixed to ‘Antep’.
While one can hear Kurds speaking about ‘Entep’ or ‘Dîlok’, ‘Antep’ is still in common use as name for the city.
Beside that, the Turkish Republic’s historical development is not the only reason, why the international significance of the ‘city of fighters’ can hardly be overestimated.
Today, more than 2.2 mio. Syrian Refugees have fled to Turkey – 350.000 of them live in Gaziantep. The ‘city of fighters’ has become the ‘city of refugees’.
The fact that Gaziantep could turn into the epicentre for the unfinished business of the Syrian Civil War, is linked to Turkey’s foreign policy since the uprising against the Alawite regime of Bashar Al-Assad in 2011.
My next article will cover the early beginnings of the Syrian Civil War and its political implications and consequences on Turkish border regions like Gaziantep.