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The Masks of the Political God by Luca Ozzano

Status of Turkey’s Exclave Territory in Syria: The Relocation Crisis of Suleyman Shah Tomb

Conflict Resolution
Foreign Policy
International Relations
Policy Analysis
Tugce Kafdagli
Yıldız Technical University
Tugce Kafdagli
Yıldız Technical University

Exclave as subject of political geography is different border style. Enclave is a territory, or a part of the territory, totally surrounded by the land of some other country. There are different exclaves in the World. One of them is Turkey’s exlave territory which is called Suleyman Shah Tomb in Jaber Castle .
After the outbreak of World War I, the Ottoman Empire collapsed, Syria was occupied by France and also this territory included Jaber Castle and grave of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the Sultan Osman. But Turkey wanted to keep Suleyman Sah's grave in Turkish hands. For this reason Turkey applied diplomacy. Article 9 of Ankara Agreement the fact that Tomb of Suleyman Shah belongs to territory of Turkey’s exlave has been accepted by France. Syria gained its independence from the French in 1946, as Turkish territory Jaber Castle was inside Syria. When the construction of the Tabqa Dam on the Euphrates River had risk the flooding of the exclave in 1973, Turkey and Syria agreed to relocate Suleyman Sah's Grave site to a higher elevation. Turkey’s exclave, Jaber Castle, surrounded by the Euphrates River and the Syrian Desert. Tomb of Sulayman Shah is Turkey’s only exclave with Turkish sovereignty. This piece of land is surrended by the Syria. This is sovereign Turkish territory and the exclave was guarded by eleven Turkish troops, who stand at attention under a Turkish flag. Jaber Castle lies in the middle of the Syrian Desert and had no permanent inhabitants.
The civil war in Syria has raged on its border, Turkey has maintained a careful remove. As foreign soldiers made their way to fight in Syria, the government sat on its hands. When ISIS and Kurdish battle increased, Turkish desicion makers worried about the tomb’s safety. Then Turkish armed forces conducted an operation in Turkey's exclave in Syria to relocate the Tomb of Suleyman Shah. The two-pronged operation simultaneously returned the body of Suleyman Shah and sacred relics from the original exclave to Turkey, and secured another area in Syria close to the border with Turkey to act as a temporary burial place.
Suleyman Shah Tomb which is an exlave territory was relocated by Turkey’s decision makers in consequence of security consideration. Although the exclave territory was defined by agreement Turkey executed to relocate the tomb on its own. Turkey did not ask Syria’s opinion, but The Turkish Foreign Ministry informed the Syrian government of the operation after the fact. Turkey’s operation was critized by Syrian government. The legal status of the tomb remained in dispute. Turkey claimed it as an exclave, arguing that the location was sovereign Turkish territory, while Syria disagreed. Therefore new status of the exclave can be cause diplomatical, political and legal crisis. This paper aim to explain that what is the legal status of the tomb’s relocation and why/how can be dispute which was emerged this status trigger to crisis.
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