Samvel A. Poghosyan
Key words – Alexandretta, Cilicia, Entente troops landing, Dardanelles, Gallipoli.
Immediately after the outbreak of World War I, the British authorities discussed the issue of landing the troops in Alexandretta. It was an important port in Cilicia, in the northeastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. The landing would entail the destruction of the Ottoman Empire. For this reason the Turks and Germans were worried, because Britain would need only 30,000 soldiers to organize this military action. Cilicia was populated mostly by Armenians, who were ready to help the British troops. The British Intelligence Service examined the area in detail and gave a positive conclusion on the landing. In January 1915, the British authorities decided to attack the Dardanelles by the forces of the navy and at the same time land at Alexandretta. Nobody in the British elite doubted the success of landing in Alexandretta, but some did not believe in success in the Dardanelles. However, the military operation in Alexandretta was eventually rejected by the British authorities. There were some reasons for this: the French authorities opposed this because they wanted to colonize Cilicia after the war. They were worried that if Cilicia was occupied by British troops, later they would not be able to get it back. The British recognized the rights of France in Cilicia and Syria, but at the same time they wanted to get Alexandretta. The latter was the most important port in the East of the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, Britain and France prevented each other from landing at Alexandretta. In the end, the Allies decided to land at Gallipoli, which was a great catastrophe for them. Thus, imperialism won, and the allies lost an important chance to overcome the Ottoman Empire. The refusal to land at Alexandretta and the failure in the Dardanelles gave the Turkish government a chance to organize the Armenian Genocide. This is one of the episodes of the story, when an almost real operation was revised at the last moment and this led to negative consequences.