The Sanjak became independent on November 29, 1937, amid celebrations by local Turks. France and Turkey became embroiled in renewed controversy as Ankara claimed that mandatory officials were trying to thwart the Sanjak’s independence. Paris rushed to comply with Turkey’s demands, arresting Arab activists and sending high-ranking French officers to Ankara to discuss joint military actions. Turkish diplomats in Ankara objected to the new electoral regulations for the Sanjak, insisting that each voter had the right to declare his affiliation to any of the specified groups he chose; registration by community had not been intended to serve as a census of the relative population sizes, the Turks insisted. France agreed with Turkey’s demands, increasingly certain that Turkish neutrality would be essential if the growing tension in Europe spilled into war. Allowing anyone to register in any community encouraged both Turkish and Arab activists to recruit every potential voter.
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