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The State of Elazig was a minor post-Doomsday Turkish state on the southwest edge of the Eastern Turkish Wasteland. The state, controlled by an assembly of Soviet and Turkish military officers, successfully maneuvered themselves into a political position where no one in the Wasteland would challenge them. They also stopped the Hatayan expansion into the area and maintained a mutually beneficial peace with them. However, in part due to their previous relations with the Hatayans, Elazig was the first Wasteland states to be directly conquered by the reestablished Turkish government.
An ancient town and citadel called Kharput (Armenian: Խարբերդ Xarberd, in Eastern Armenian pronunciation: Kharberd, in Western Armenian pronunciation Kharpert or Harput), which means "rocky fortress" in Armenian, was built by the first Armenian kings about five kilometers from modern Elâzığ.
Under the reign of Mahmud II, the governor Reşid Mehmed Pasha started the expansion of Mezre, meaning "hamlet" in Arabic, in a reference to its formerly uninhabited state. During the reign of Sultan Abdülazîz, military barracks, a hospital and a governor's mansion were built to accommodate the seat of a new vilâyet (province). The city was renamed "Mamûretü'l-Azîz" (معمورة العزيز made prosperous by Aziz in Ottoman Turkish) in 1866 on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of enthronement of the Ottoman Sultan Abdülaziz, although he was not the initial founder. The city was known many years as "Elâzîz" due to its ease of pronunciation. On November 17, 1937, President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk changed the name of the city to "Elazık". However, since this was hard to pronounce in Turkish, on December 10, 1937 the government changed the city's name to its final form, "Elâzığ". It is known as Elezîz (that means "the province improved by Abdulaziz"). The ancient name of the city in old Turkish was Harput. The Kurdish name of the city is Mezra.
From its foundation until the end of the World War II, the city's growth was somewhat irregular. While the town probably consisted of 10 to 12,000 inhabitants at the beginning of the World War I, the first census conducted by the Republic of Turkey in 1927 counted 20,052 inhabitants. This figure continued to rise to reach 25,465 in 1940, but the general shortages suffered during the World War II years by the neutral Turkey led to an exodus of population, reducing the population to 23,635. From then onward, the city has gone through uninterrupted growth. Harput, in the meantime, acquired the status of a township separated from Elâzığ with a population running around two thousand.
As was with the rest of the world, Doomsday came suddenly for the Republic of Turkey in 1983 and enacted a devastating toll. Due to their membership in NATO, Turkey was a target of the Soviet nuclear barrage.
During the chaos of Doomsday and the following months, the Soviet Union launched an invasion of eastern Turkey. After two weeks of constant fighting, the battle lines had been shifted back beyond the Soviet border, thanks to the superior Turkish and NATO supplies in the east. However, casualties were high and the remaining soldiers were running out of ammunition. Across the front, soldiers were deserting in the face of the surrounding destruction. Several generals, Turkish and Soviet alike, also rebelled and withdrew from the Russian front. A group of five military commanders from both sides (One Georgian, Two Russian, and Two Turkish) declared a truce and marched out to discuss a mutual agreement. Although the Soviet Invasion had failed, it had also devastated the NATO-Turkish defense and both sides agreed to work together. The Republic of Turkey was soon unable to maintain control and quickly collapsed. With the fall of the established Turkish government and facing an uncertain future, the Soviet-Turkish lines on the southwestern front agreed to a ceasefire. The Russians at first threatened to launch a renewed assault on the Turkish positions, but the leading Turkish officers quickly deduced that they were bluffing and that the Soviet forces were exhausted and short of ammunition.
The Turkish southeastern commanders suggested that a suspension of hostilities be announced to both sides, and the attackers reluctantly agreed. Scattered skirmishes continued until October 17, 1983, when a formal truce was declared. The commanders then met to discuss the future. Several of the Turkish officers suggested that their forces might work better together, and the Soviets proposed that, with the collapse of the central government in Turkey, the only possible conclusion was the formation of splinter states as a power struggle would probably likely ensue. This suggestion was approved by the Turkish generals, and on October 21, the joint Soviet-Turkish command marched their combined armies across southern Turkey. They quickly paused to fortify the city of Elazig and declare it their new command post. Although this was only suspected by many to be temporary, it would soon lead to the formation of an independent aristocracy of Elazig.
A New Era
After the new post-Doomsday command post had been established in Elazig, the military commanders quickly attempted to establish some resemblance of government to ensure their own survival. They imposed a strict martial law over Elazig and, within, a month, had effectively ended the chaos and looting. Suspected anarchists and looters were quickly seized by armed troops and imprisoned in a cramped detention area. To facilitate more permanent imprisonment, the military command evacuated civilians from the nearby community of Harput, which was slowly being abandoned due to its high elevation and lack of water.
The area was walled off and heavily policed. Temporary prisoner barracks were also built, and the unfortunate suspects, many innocent citizens who had been wrongfully and indiscriminately accused, were locked away within the walls. Still, the prisoner quarters were not enough and many of the prisoners were forced to pitch homemade tents on the grounds. Life for the people in Harput worsened over the next few years. Lack of food, water, and proper medicine soon began to take their toll on many men. The doomed persons were packed like sardines and thus, sanitation was also poor. By the fall of Elazig, all of the original prisoners of Harput had died of starvation, sickness, or torture by their captors.
To preside over the new regime, the military officers appointed a council assembly comprising of Elazig civilian authorities and the local aristocracy. The assembly hall was set up in a nearby university.
Solidifying the State
Elazig and much of the surrounding area soon came under strict control of the assembly. Many of those suspected of rebelling against the regime were taken by the truckload to be shot. After shooting their victims, Elazigi soldiers would bayonet them repeatedly to ensure no one would live to tell the tale. Outside of the city of Elazig, most of the local population began to starve. Many of the Turkish people within the province were soon reduced to skin and bones on a meagre diet of gruel alone, which was issued to them at restricted food centers set up by the council.
Within a year, the borders of Elazig were heavily defended by a series of strongholds and fortifications which were well-garrisoned by Elazig troops. The soldiers were given almost unlimited control and chaos ensued across the province and the city as the soldiers raped, stole, and murdered at will. At last, the military authorities saw their mistake and realized that such unrestricted anarchy by the soldiers only destroyed morale and discipline. The council was making enemies of their populance and that would make administration difficult.
Anguish, pain, and suffering ensued at the hands of the troops, who conducted claimed 'Counter-Espionage' activities. Their brutal methods of torture soon gained them infamy and hatred among the people. At last, the assembly restored order among the ranks and limited counter-espionage activities to a 'Devlet Guard', which policed the city, ruthlessly suppressed protests by the citizens, their distinct helmets and armbands striking terror wherever they went. Ration cards were issued by the Elazig assembly in an attempt to ease food shortages. Many people resorted to eating snakes, rodents, and dogs. By 1986, food was so scarce that even crumbs which had fallen to the floor were carefully scooped up and eaten.
The State of Elazig was not alone in Eastern Turkey. While order was very slowly being reestablished in Western Turkey, Eastern Turkey had been divided into separate minor factions and states constantly fighting for control. Elazig's heavily-defended borders and strategic positions also discouraged excursions from neighboring states such as the Republic of Greater Patnos, which was far more stable and prosperous than the other states in the warzone, now known as the Eastern Turkish Wasteland. Many of Elazig's citizenry attempted to flee to the neighboring republic, but it was not easy to evade the assembly's men or the Devlet Guard. For a bounty, desperate people were encouraged to report on the activities of their neighbors. Those caught attempting to flee were beheaded by Devlet Guardsmen in public. Life was hard under the new state. Power and luxury were held by members of the assembly, and they intended to keep it that way.
The price of foodstuffs skyrocketed as storeowners withheld goods to sell them on the black market. The Elazigi- issued currency was soon rendered worthless as black markets began appearing overnight. A new rationing system was implemented in 1988, and 4-hour lineups for basic foods became a normal occurrence. The quality of the food also steadily worsened. Under the assembly, all available plots of land were used to cultivate food. Cloths became expensive and rare, thus the people were forced to patch and repatch their clothing. Assembly members tried to control the situation, but found even themselves forced to buy commodities on the black market.
In 1989, Elazig's first challenger came in the form of the Republic of Hatay (which bordered Elazig to the west) and attempted to expand into Elazigi territory to restore order to some part of the lawless wasteland, which was getting torn apart by the intense violence. The Hatayan forces advanced swiftly and conducted the invasion under the belief that their troops would soon subdue an inferior Elazigi army. However, the assembly's forces violently repelled the Hatayan onslaught with dextrous tactics and sheer aggression. The Republic of Hatay never advanced beyond two miles of the Elazig border.
By 1990, the Hatayan forces had been completely repulsed with heavy losses, and the assembly voted to make peace with the republic. In the following months, the Elazigi council concluded a mutually beneficial peace treaty with Hatay. This also granted Elazig trade rights within the Hatayan Republic, advancing their economy and bringing some much-needed support.
The following year, the assembly launched their most ambitious project yet: To resettle populance from the overcrowded Elazig to a new settlement in Baskil, within central Anatolia. Schools and eating areas were set up within the new settlement, and shops sold home-grown vegetables. However, raiders, poor land, and disease doomed the project. The same year, Elazig encountered a new threat in the form of the powerful wasteland state called the 'Second Empire of Trabzon. The Second Empire of Trabzon, the most organized and militarily powerful of all of the wasteland states, had invaded the coalition of New Erzurum (A set of refugee and military communities in central Anatolia). This brought on new tensions with the Elazigi assembly, who feared imperial power would soon expand south into their territory.
The excuse for war against the emperor of Trabzon came in 1993, when the Republic of Hatay invaded the Second Empire of Trabzon's southwestern territories around New Erzurum in an attempt to restore some form of order to the region. Elazig, by this point severely alarmed by the growth of Trabzon's power and the growing proximity of the empire to their territory, sent a message to Hatay agreeing to support the Hatayans in the invasion. But it was doomed to failure as the Hatayans had grossly underestimated the strength of Trabzon's imperial defense force. Although the expedition managed to gain some ground, they were soon suffering heavy losses when the Trabzon emperor ordered a round-the-clock bombardment of their positions. Bloody fighting raged until late in the year, when Elazig and their Hatayan allies made a last-ditch attempt to assault the Trabzon-controlled town of Divrigi. However, they were faced with an impossible task as they attacked the heavily fortified city. The militarily disciplined Imperial Legion, an elite Trabzon unit, marched out to defend the town and massacred the Hatayan forces, ending the ill-fated invasion. Even as the Hatayan lines wavered, the Elazigi troops fought bravely and clung to their positions. Although assaulted by soldiers of the Imperial Legion, they stood their ground and fought back until they were forced to retreat due to heavy losses. Nearly 60 per cent of all casualties in the Devlet Guard (which fought as a reserve force in the battle) came from this clash. Having failed in their mission, the surviving Hatayan stragglers retreated out of the wasteland. Without support from the Republic of Hatay, Elazig was also forced to withdraw its troops.
The Beginning of the End
By 1990, the central Turkish government had been resurrected in the form of a sultanate. Throughout the 1990's, the Turkish military had focused on reclaiming much of southern Turkey as the northern part of the country was affected by nuclear radiation left over from Doomsday.
In 1997, they reached the border of the Republic of Hatay. The same year, the Republic of Hatay believed they had sufficiently rebuilt to be able to combat the Sultanate of Turkey. Though the Sultanate had a greater population than the Republic, Hatayan military leaders believed believed that the Sultanate was stretched too thin from their recent conquests in the north and would be easy to defeat in their primary southern territories. According to their military planners, Hatay would be able to successfully invade and defeat the Sultanate by reaching Konya within 9 months. If they were able to reach Konya, they believed that the Sultanate would fall. With this conviction, they began massing troops on their border. On April 12, 1997, the Republic of Hatay invaded the Sultanate of Turkey.
The invasion began in the early morning hours and was able to quickly overwhelm the border defenses. Within seven weeks, the Hatayan forces had reached Karapinar, which was only 100 km from Konya, the Sultanate's capital. The Hatayans had rightfully assumed that the Sultanate was spread thin due to their conquests. However, what they did not anticipate, was the speed with which they reassembled their forces and the large number of conscripts their larger population was able to mobilize. Three months after the invasion, the Republic of Hatay was pushed back to just beyond Silifke, only a few kilometers from their border. At this point, the Hatayan military leaders realized what they had done and fortified their forces for the impending invasion. The Sultanate was able to devote an increasing amount of soldiers to the war effort due to the stabilization of the northern frontier. Slowly, Hatay was driven back until Feburary of 1998, they were decisively defeated at the Battle of Osmaniye, which opened the road to Iskenderum, Gaziantep, and beyond. Shortly after, the oppressed people of Hataya and the Syrian generals rebelled, causing increased problem for the Hatayan government. While the Syrian generals were defeated, many of the popular rebellions destablized the front and forced the Hatayan military further back. In June of 1998, the Hatayan capital, Iskenderum, was taken and the Republic of Hatay collapsed. The remants of the central government continued to fight in northern Syria and the Kurdish border provinces. Much of the still unconquered eastern portions of the nation rebelled, due to the harsh treatment of the Hatayan government, and joined the Sultanate. Finally, on November 11, 1999, the last of the Hatayan military leaders surrendered and the war was finally over. The entirety of the Republic of Hatay was annexed into the Sultanate of Turkey.
Despite the defeat of the Hatayans, minor insurgencies would arise in the area. These would not be completely defeated for another three years. Nonetheless, Turkey was one step closer towards its goal of total unification. The effect on the State of Elazig was a grim topic of discussion among the members of the aristocratic assembly, which now shared a direct border with the rising Turkish sultanate.
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