Êlih (Officially: Batman) is a city in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey and the capital of Batman Province. It lies on a plateau, 540 meters above sea level, near t
Êlih (Officially: Batman) is a city in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey and the capital of Batman Province. It lies on a plateau, 540 meters above sea level, near the confluence of the Batman River and the Tigris (Kurdish: Dicle).
The Batman Province contains the strategic Tigris River with fertile lands by its sides, as well as rocky hills with numerous caves providing a natural shelter. Therefore it was inhabited from prehistoric times, likely from the Neolithic (Paleolithic) period, according to archeological evidence. First documented evidence of settlements in the province dates back to the 7th century BC. An artificial "island" was created in this marshy area. It was named elekhan, and stood independent for 194 years from 546 BC until the invasion of Alexander the Great in 352 BC. The Batman Province was a religious center in the 4th–6th centuries AD. In the 11th–12th centuries it was ruled by the Great Seljuq Empire and Artuqids and became a prominent outpost of the Silk Road. This area was populated by Syriac Christians and had a significant presence of Pontic Greeks, Assyrians, Baghdadi Jews and Armenians; these peoples lived in the region from 500 BC to the late 19th century. Significant changes in its management and language were brought in 1515 by Mahmoud Pasha Elekhani. It is believed that a variant of his name, Elah, was transformed into Iluh and gave the old name to the Batman city.
The city was connected with Istanbul in 1944 by a railway line. This was the major transportation route until the 1950s when highways gradually became more important. Until the 1950s, Êlih was a village of some 3,000 people; it was called Iluh and belonged to the Siirt Province. It was first located in the Elmedin district of Siirt. The entire district disappeared in the spring of 1926 due to the flood of the Batman River. After that, Iluh was part of Beşiri sub-province. On 2 September 1957, the village became a district center and renamed into Batman after the river flowing nearby, which was known under its name since at least the 19th century. On 16 May 1990 it was designated the capital of the Batman Province.This administrative evolution reflected the rapid growth of the city owing to its oil extraction and refinement industries. Oil was found in the region in the 1930s and the oldest in Turkey refinery was built in 1955 to process crude oil of the Raman and Garzan areas. The refinery is operated by Tüpraş, it has a processing capacity of 1.1 million tonnes per year and storage capacity of 228 billion m3.
Development of the oil fields outside the city resulted in a rapid growth of Êlih beginning in the 1950s. It was declared a "Priority Region for Development". A high school was established in the city in 1975 and most one-storey houses were rebuilt into multi-storey buildings. However, the large inflow of labor for the oil industry resulted in construction of hundreds of unauthorized small buildings on the outskirts of the city. Because of the wind direction, most industrial complexes were located in the southern and south-eastern areas.The oil-related development of Batman also resulted in relocation of Turkish people into a mostly Kurd-populated Batman Province. According to official reports, 37 villages and 54 towns were emptied from inhabitants as people were either deported by force or their homes burned down between 1990-99, during the conflict between Turkey and Kurdish forces.
The ancient city of Hasankeyf (Kurdish: Heskîf, see also separate link on KURMAPS) is under threats of destruction. Much of the city and its archeological sites are at risk of being flooded with the completion of the Ilisu Dam. With its history that spans nine civilizations, the archaeological and religious significance of Hasankeyf is considerable. Some of the city's historical treasures will be inundated if construction of the Ilısu Dam is completed. These include the ornate mosques, Islamic tombs and cave churches. The threat of the Ilisu Dam project prompted the World Monuments Fund to list the city on its 2008 Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world. It is hoped that this listing will create more awareness of the project and prompt the Ilisu Consortium to develop alternate plans that are more sympathetic to this site of exceptional historical and cultural significance.
[i] Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
[ii] http://www.savaskarsitlari.org/arsiv.asp?ArsivTipID=5&ArsivAnaID=53400, retrieved Aug. 15, 2014