Turkish province wants its borders to look like Batman logo

More than 20,000 people have signed a petition for Batman, one of Turkey's 81 provinces, to be re-shaped so its borders resemble the Bat-Signal.

For those who both love superheroes and cartography, the southeast corner of the map of Turkey holds a pleasant triple surprise: a river, city and province, all named Batman.


Of course, none of them was named after the superhero. The city, called Iluh until 1957 (and still called Êlih in Kurdish), was named after the river and passed that name on to the province.

The river itself was known in Antiquity as Kalat or Nymphios ('bride' in Syriac and Greek) and by the Arabs as Sâtîdamâ ('bloody', after the battles fought near its banks). Batman came into use only in the 19th century, possibly short for Bati Raman, a nearby mountain; or for batman, an Ottoman unit of weight (just under 7.7 kg or 17 lb; the equivalent of 6 okka).

The current provincial borders in southeastern Turkey.

The three Turkish Batmans are not the only places that bear the same name as Bruce Wayne’s crime-fighting alter ego. Batman is also a city in Iran’s Kermanshah province – actually not that far from its Turkish counterpart, as the bat flies. And also an electoral district and railway station in Melbourne, Australia, both named after John Batman (1), one of the city fathers. Accidental though its link to the caped crusader may be, Batman in Turkey has not been shy about exploiting its link to Batman of Gotham City.

In 2008, Batman mayor Huseyin Kalkan tried to sue Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan (director of Batman Begins and The Dark Night) for royalty infringement, on the grounds that they used the city’s name in those movies without permission or payment. The claim never made it to court – and perhaps just as well: Batman the comic is two decades older than Batman the city, so a reverse suit would actually have been the slightly more credible of two very spurious claims.

The current attempt to link city and hero stems from a petition initiated by Batman resident Kemal Atakan Kırca. “Batman needs some change! We can start with the border. By changing the border, we can make it more realistic”, reads his petition on Change.org. Calling on the governor of Batman to help reshape the borders of his province to resemble the famous Bat-Signal, the petition has already gathered more than 20,000 signatures in less than a week.

If Mr. Atakan and his more than 20,000 co-signatories get their way.

Some signatories have gone even further, suggesting that Batman city be renamed Gotham (2). Neither change is likely, but the attention can only benefit the interest in Batman (city and province). Turkey is a major tourist destination for Europeans and Middle Easterners alike, but most stay close to the major cities and coasts in the country’s west.

Many thanks to Kees Huyser for sending in the proposed map, found here on Interesting Engineering. Map of current borders found here on Turkish Lessons.

Strange Maps #927

Got a strange map? Let me know at strangemaps@gmail.com.

(1) Batman is a rare, but genuinely English surname. A more common variant is 'Bateman'.

(2) From the old English for ‘goat home’, the original Gotham is an actual village in Nottinghamshire, England.

Change.org
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The tongue-in-cheek petition, whose stated aim is to reduce the national debt, has been signed more than 8,600 times as of Tuesday.
  • Selling Montana, the fourth largest state in the country, would constitute the largest land deal since the Louisiana Purchase.
  • The national debt is often a source of concern for individuals, but the chances of the U.S. defaulting on its debts are relatively low — in part because the bulk of the national debt is owned by the American public.
Keep reading Show less

Study: Memories of music cannot be lost to Alzheimer's and dementia

The part of your brain responsible for ASMR catalogs music, and appears to be a stronghold against Alzheimer's and dementia.

The parts of the brain highlighted in red and yellow are thought to control your sense of attention and memory. (image c/o Brain Network Lab)
popular

Some music inspires you to move your feet, some inspires you to get out there and change the world. In any case, and to move hurriedly on to the point of this article, it's fair to say that music moves people in special ways. 

Keep reading Show less

What makes someone gay? Science is trying to get it straight.

Evolutionarily speaking, being gay is still something of an enigma

Videos
  • Heterosexual people have been less interesting to scientists than gay people, in terms of where they come from, because, evolutionarily speaking, being gay doesn't lead to a higher "higher reproductive fitness" — meaning, it doesn't lead to more babies.
  • Across cultures, gay boys tend to be more interested in spending time with their mothers.
  • We still don't really know why gay people are attracted to each other.