|State of Hatay Stamp with Map|
France had pursued a divide-and-rule policy under the Mandate, creating separate Alawite and Druze substates within Syria while combining Christian and Muslim parts of Lebanon into "Gran Liban"; the Sanjak of Alexandretta, as the Hatay was then known, was problematical as an ethnic mix of Arabs and Turks, and a religious mix of Sunnis, Alawites, and Christians (including many Armenians). From 1923 onward the Turkish republic claimed it as Turkish territory (Atatürk said it had been Turkish "for 40 centuries"), while Syrians insisted it was an integral part of Syria. France was prepared to find a modus vivendi that would improve its relations with republican Turkey. Turkey took it to the League of Nations and the League in 1937 created the Sanjak of Alexandretta as a separately-administered part of Syria with France and Turkey sharing defense responsibilities.
|Flag of Republic of Hatay |
(note star is outlined, not solid)
Syrians still think Turkey basically stole it; Turkey considers it integrally Turkish.
One thing I should clarify: In the film Indiana Jones and the Lost Crusade, the action moves to a place identified as the State of Hatay, though this Hatay has a different flag, is apparently Arab, is ruled by a Sultan, and contains among other things Petra and the Holy Grail. I'm not 100% certain but I think this may be a sign that you should not take the Indiana Jones series as accurate accounts of history, geography and archaeology.