A view of city center in Batman.
|• Mayor||Sabri Özdemir (BDP)|
|• District||563.59 km2 (217.60 sq mi)|
|Elevation||540 m (1,770 ft)|
|• District density||680/km2 (1,800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
|Postal code||72x xx|
|Area code(s)||(+98) 488|
Batman (Kurdish: Êlih) 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. The Batı Raman oil field, which is the largest oil field in Turkey, is located just outside the city. Batman has a local airport and a military airbase, which was used for transit of aircraft and helicopters in some search and rescue operations of the Gulf War.
Until the 1950s, Batman was a village called Iluh with a population of about 3,000. However, oil fields were discovered around it in the 1940s that resulted in a rapid development of the area and in the inflow of workforce from other parts of Turkey. In 1957, the village was renamed into Batman, after the river namesake, received a city status and became a district center. Over the next 50 years, Batman was rebuilt from one-storey to multi-storeyed buildings and its population grew 100-fold. A 511 km (318 mi) km long oil pipeline was brought in 1967 from Batman to the port city of Dörtyol near the easternmost point of the Mediterranean coast to transport the crude oil from the Batman refinery. In 1990, the city became the capital of Batman Province.
Apart from oil, which is by far the dominant commodity of the region, Batman produces beverages, processed food, chemicals, furniture, footwear, machinery and transport equipment. A university was established here in 2007 and became part of the Erasmus foreign student exchange program.
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 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, Batman 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 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 Batman 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. This has brought ethnic conflicts which escalated in the 1990s. More than 180 civilians were killed in the Batman city area by unidentified gunmen between 1992 and 1993.
Search for oil in the Batman Province was started in 1935. On 20 April 1940, oil was found at a depth of 1048 meters at the Raman oil field, nearby (south-east of) Batman. The first experimental well started producing 10 tonnes (about 62 barrels (9.9 m3)) per day from 6 June 1940. The field was expanded for commercial production by 1945, but the production was delayed to 1947 by the lack of storage. A small refinery was built at the site with a capacity of 9 tonnes/day by 1947 and by November 1948 a bigger refinery capable of processing up to 200 tonnes/day was built in Batman. Even bigger refinery (330 tonnes/d) was built in Batman by 1955. Several other oil fields were discovered later around Batman, the largest being Batı Raman oil field which produces about 7,000 barrels (1,100 m3) daily. A 511 km (318 mi) km long oil pipeline was brought in 1967 from Batman to the port city of Dörtyol near the easternmost point of the Mediterranean coast to transport the Batman crude oil. The pipeline has an annual capacity of 3.5 million tonnes and was transporting about 20 million barrels (3,200,000 m3) (about 2.7 million tonnes) in the 1990s and about twice less between 2003 and 2007. Another, short (41 km) pipeline connected Batman with Şelmo – the location of the second largest oil field in Turkey. It was transferring between 1.5 and 0.5 million barrels (79,000 m3) per year in the period 1990–2007. Both pipelines are operated by BOTAŞ.
Apart from oil, which is by far the dominant commodity of the region, Batman produces beverages, processed food, chemicals, furniture, footwear, machinery and transport equipment.
Geography and climate
Batman is built on a flat plateau elevated at 540 m above the sea level, though there is a declining slope of up to 0.6° in the northeastern and southern areas. There are almost no forests in and around the city. The Iluh River, a tributary of the Batman River, flows through the city. The soil mostly consists of soft and porous clay; it is unstable and is easily eroded with rain and floods of the Batman and Iluh rivers. The floods occur between March and May and sometimes in October–November. Major floods occurred in 1969 (April, 60 buildings damaged), 1972 (April and May, 210 buildings damaged), 1991 (November, 500 buildings flooded), 1995 (March, nearly 1000 buildings submerged and 450 damaged) and 2006 (October, 11 people died and 20 injured).
Batman has a borderline Mediterranean climate and continental climate. Winters are cold and humid, with much precipitation. Summers are hot and dry with temperatures above 35 °C (95 °F). On average, Batman has a lot of sunshine hours.
|Climate data for Batman|
|Record high °C (°F)||16.4
|Average high °C (°F)||7.6
|Average low °C (°F)||−1.6
|Record low °C (°F)||−24.0
|Precipitation mm (inches)||56.3
|Avg. rainy days||11.0||10.6||11.5||11.4||7.8||2.3||0.5||0.4||1.0||5.8||7.6||10.4||80.3|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||102.3||123.2||176.7||219||297.6||357||381.3||356.5||303||220.1||153||93||2,782.7|
|Source #1: Devlet Meteoroloji İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü |
|Source #2: Weatherbase |
According to the national census data collected between 1990 and 2000, the population of Batman was growing at a rate of 5% per year. By 2008, it has reached 298,342, with the male to female ratio of 1.015. According to the 2000 census, about 50% of population was married and had about 5 children per family. About 5 people were living together within one family. The unemployment rate was about 20% for males and 10% for females.
Batman is connected by highways and railway with the nearby cities of Diyarbakır and Kurtalan and with the capital Ankara. The distance (highway) to Istanbul is 1,465 km (910 mi), to Ankara 1,012 km (629 mi) and to İzmir 1,520 km (944 mi). There is also a regional airport outside of Batman (at ) which provides direct flights to İzmir, Ankara and Istanbul. The airport is combined with the military Batman Air Base. The base was renovated after the US-Turkey agreement in 1982 to make the base available for US tactical aircraft acting within NATO forces. This allowed them patrolling the region of Caucasus, Turkey and Iran without refueling. The base was then used for aid delivery and rescue missions in Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War.
Education and sport
According to the census of 2000, 15% males and 43% females of Batman were categorized as illiterate. Within the literate part, about 33% males and 29% females have not finished secondary school, 3.3% males and 0.9% females had university education, and about 13% males and 3.8% females had completed a high-school or an equivalent program. There are 71 elementary and 12 high schools in Batman. The Batman University was founded on 27 May 2007. It employs about 140 staff members and has the faculties of Science and Letters, Technical Education and Engineering, which mostly cover engineering and business and administration topics. About 2,500 students from different parts of Turkey study here and the university is part of the Erasmus foreign student exchange program.
Football is the most popular sport. The city has a professional football club, Batman Petrolspor, formed in 1960 and playing in the Turkish top Süper Lig. The club was named after the petroleum industry of the city. Another local football team, Batman B.S., participates in the Turkish Third League. There is a football stadium in Batman with a capacity of 4,900 spectators.
Another popular sport is wrestling. Freestyle wrestlers from Batman have won national competitions, and Ali Riza Alan won gold in 1970 and silver in 1974 in world championships in the weight category under 52 kg (115 lb). The major sport venue of Batman, Atatürk Sports Hall, can accommodate 1,000 spectators and supports athletics, badminton, basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, folk dance, handball, martial arts (kurash, judo, aikido, wushu, karate and taekwondo), table tennis, volleyball and swimming.
The current mayor of Batman is Nejdet Atalay. He was a member of the Kurdish Democratic Society Party until the Constitutional Court of Turkey banned that party on 11 December 2009 for alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, banning him and 35 other members of that now-disbanded political party from joining any political party for five years. He is still mayor, but is no longer a member of any political party due to this court decision.
Local newspapers include Batman Çağdaş, Batman Doğuş, Batman Express, Batman Gazetesi, Batman Haber Portalı and Batman Postası.
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