Home of Blessings; Cukurova

Aug 2, 2023 - Wednesday

Çukurova, located between the Central Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean, is the largest delta of Anatolia, the ancient home of many creatures.

According to Strabo, the famous geographer of ancient times, Cilicia in the Hellenistic and Roman periods was divided into two parts: Cilicia Aspera, that is, Rough Cilicia, and Cilicia Pedias, that is, Lowland Cilicia. The soil in lowland Cilicia was fertile, but it was necessary to get rid of the swamps, malaria and invaders in order to open this area for settlement. All of this happened, and the Lowland Cilicia became Çukurova today, which "if a man were planted, It would grow”. In the region where many settlements were established for thousands of years, the Kizzuwatna Kingdom of the Hittites was known as the first political entity. This kingdom provided the connection of the Hittites with the sea. It was very rich in natural resources. Iron and silver were mined from the Taurus mountains, and its slopes were covered with forests. The plains were fertile lands irrigated by rivers.

It has been documented in archaeological excavations that Çukurova also fed the societies that lived in these lands thousands of years ago. The findings obtained in Tatarlı Höyük excavations are thought to play an important role in the spread of agriculture from the inner parts of Anatolia to Europe, since the region is geographically the Northwest window of the Fertile Crescent opening to Anatolia. It is estimated that in those years, in addition to barley and wheat farming, products such as chickpeas, lentils, vetch and peas were grown in the region, and fruits such as grapes in vineyards, apples and pears in orchards were also grown. Çukurova and Cilicia have attracted the attention of great states throughout history due to their geographical location, underground and aboveground treasures. Hittite, Egyptian, Assyrian, Roman, Byzantine and Persian states and various kingdoms struggled for sovereignty in these lands, where the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Berdan rivers gave life. The region, which came under the rule of Byzantium after the division of Rome into two, came under the rule of Muslims in the 7th century, the Crusaders in the 12th century, and then the Anatolian Seljuks and Ramazanoğulları Seigniory. After the Çaldıran Excursion of Yavuz Sultan Selim, it passed under the Ottoman rule and experienced a long period of stability that lasted until the 19th century. Çukurova, which was invaded by the Egyptian army in 1833, was connected to the Province of Aleppo after it came under Ottoman rule again, and Adana Province was established in 1867.

Çukurova is suitable for growing all kinds of agricultural products. Irrigation, fertilization and mechanization have changed the nature of agriculture in this region. It can be said that agricultural production in this region has created today's industrialized Çukurova. The quality of agricultural production has also affected the social structure. The region, especially Adana province, developed rapidly after the second half of the 19th century. On the basis of this development lies the cotton cultivation and industrialization based on it, which is called "Akaltın-White Gold" in the region. In fact, cotton has been produced in the region since the early ages and it remained at a level to meet the regional needs until the 1820s.

As a result of the rebellion of the Egyptian Governor Kavalalı Mehmet Ali Pasha, the indigenous people of Egypt, settled in the region by Mehmet Ali Pasha, played an active role in cotton cultivation by engaging in intensive agricultural activities in Çukurova. In accordance with the London Treaty of 1841,the region was rejoined to the Ottoman Empire. After the region was rejoined to the Ottoman Empire, the most important development that enabled the increase of the cotton planted land was the drying of the swamps and the cadastre application. In addition, in 1861, England, which could not reach cotton due to internal turmoil in the USA, started to encourage cotton cultivation in Egypt and Çukurova.

During the disintegration period of the Ottoman Empire, the French occupation in the region and the migration of the local people to the mountainous areas and/or the cessation of agricultural activities caused a serious economic loss in this area. In the years following the proclamation of the Republic, the government started initiatives to start to cultivate again and to increase investment and production.As a matter of fact, the first "Agriculture Exhibition" in the history of the Republic with an international status was opened in Adana in 1924 in line with the directives of Mustafa Kemal himself.

Another factor in the rise of Çukurova is the development of irrigation infrastructure. With the opening of the Seyhan Dam in 1956 and starting to operate irrigation channels in the 1970s, a great increase was achieved in the irrigable land. In the 1980s, the aftercrop practice was started, and micro industrial activities, which started with the industrialization based on agriculture and consumption in the 1930s, became large-scale factories over time. Adana was one of the first industrialized cities with the development of agriculture first and then agriculture-based industry.

Today, mostly soybeans, radishes, peanuts, corn, sunflowers, wheat, cotton, barley, peas, sesame, watermelon, citrus fruits, stone fruits and olives are grown in the region.

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