Cilicia was created after World War I by the Treaty of Lucerne as homeland for the southern Armenians of the Ottoman Empire. It was created from the former Vilayet of Adana. It was a satellite state of France.
Cilicia was recognized and had diplomatic relations with France, Italy, Greece, UK and Austria-Hungary. The Turkish republic never recognized its status of an independent state and reclaimed it as part of its territory.
Cilicia was a parliamentary republic. Its constitution was based on the Armenian National Constitution of 1860 and the Constitution of the III French Republic. According to it the republic is organized as follows:
- The Head of State was the President of Republic, elected by a joint session of the National Assembly for a mandate of six years. He named the President of the Council of Ministers, that acted as the Head of Government, and the rest of the ministers. The Prime Minister and Council of Ministers was held accountable to the National Assembly;
- The legislative power rested in the National Assembly, a bicameral body that consisted of a Senate (with a mandate of 9 years, elected n thirds every three years by the representatives of the sanjaks assembled as an electoral college) and Chamber of Deputies (elected directly by secret ballot for a mandate of 4 years or less if dissolved for new elections).
- The judicature is organized in the Court of Cassation (supreme court over civil and criminal courts) and the Council of State (supreme court over administrative courts).
All men over 21 years can vote in all elections and referenda. The electoral system was based on the Ottoman millet.
The French Ambassador as informal access to governmental actions and his recommendations were usually followed. A Franco-Cilician Advisory Commission dealt with the assistance and advice in defence, finance, taxation, and international commerce.
Cilicia was divided in sanjaks (district), kaza (canton), municipalities of district centers (belediye), and karye (village). The Interior minister named the Prefects and Subprefects of the Sanjkas and Kazas.
Muhtars and their village councils (Azalar) were elected during local elections for three-year terms. All district centers have municipalities (belediye), headed by an elected mayor and council, who administered a defined municipality area (usually matching the urban zone) for defined municipal matters.
The main political parties were the ones organized by the Armenians. The Turkish majority boycotted or withdraw from the National Assembly, save for local government elections and bodies.
The Armenian parties formed the Armenian National Union (ANU) as formal alliance Members of the ANU were, the Armenakan Party, Armenian Constitutional Democratic Party, Social Democrat Hunchakian Party (SDHP), and Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF).
The Turkish majority formed the Turkish People's Party, informally organized and funded by the Turkish Republican People's Party.
Cilicia was well known for the vast fertile land and highly productive agriculture. Mersin and İskenderun seaports provide transportation of goods manufactured in Central, South and Southeast Anatolia.
In 1920, the region was noted for its forested western region, which had little agricultural production. The Cilicia region was noted for its agricultural production, including wheat, barley, oats, rice, seeds, opium, sugarcane and cotton. Cotton production became more popular before World War I. In 1912, the region produced 110,000 bales of cotton and 35,000 tons of cottonseed. Pyrite is also mined.
In the early 20th-century, there were mills spinning thread. As of 1920, there were two factories in Smyrna dying yarn, which were owned by British companies. These companies employed over 60,000 people. During this time, there was also a French owned cotton spinning mill. The city also produced soap made of refuse olive oil. An ironworks, also owned by the British, produced tools and equipment. Those tools were used to extract tannin from valonia oak. As of 1920, the ironwork was exporting 5,000 tons of product a year. The city also produced wooden boxes, which were used for fig and raisin storage. The wood for the boxes was imported from Austria and Romania.
The former Legion Arménienne became the backbone of the newly created Cilician Army. A compulsory military service applied to all male citizens from twenty to forty one years of age. The Franco-Cilician Defense Assistance Agreement provided for the training and assistance in establishing the Cilician Armed Forces.
The Armed forces were organized in four branches:
- Cilician Army
- Cilician Air Force
- Cilician Navy
- National Gendarmerie, under command of the Minister of Interior.
Public order in urban areas and the national capital of Adana was in charge of the National Police
Other states created by the Treaty of Lucerne: