We did not spend much time in the plain around Adana. The summer is hot and wet there, the reports of the French soldiers had informed us. We wanted however to see Adana and especially Tarsus, about which Elie often spoke.
- Country of Paul?
- Eh yes, of course, country of Saint Paul!
Elie remained several months in garrison with Tarsus, where he looked after the train. The city kept its charm of small provincial town, rediscovering the vestiges of its ancient past in the shade of the large tropical trees.
Coming from Gaziantep, before arriving at Adana, we visited the Armenian fortresses where French crusaders found a friendly refuge, a few centuries ago. In 1920, Toprakkale, Yilanlikale and some others made dream the young cultured officers. They imagined our ancestors arriving there, by foot, after a long trip and the crossing of hostile Moslem countries. It was nice for them to find sure friends in impregnable fortresses, and to share with them the quite fanatic faith of people of this remote time.
We went until Mersin. In 1920, it was a small port where our soldiers unloaded,… then re-embarked! Today, it is a large industrial port, surrounded by a large city. As in Adana, Gaziantep and in much of cities, the development of Turkey is spectacular.
In the back country of Tarsous, the villages disperse on rather arid hills. We quickly forget there the fertility of the plain of Adana. However, we could not see from there tops of very close Taurus. Were they hidden by the mist?