Central park in Turgutlu
Location of Turgutlu within Turkey.
|• District||472.86 km2 (182.57 sq mi)|
|Elevation||68 m (223 ft)|
|• District density||310/km2 (800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
Turgutlu is a very large town and district of Manisa Province in the Aegean region of Turkey. According to the 2009 census, population of the district is 140,753 of which 115930 live in the city of Turgutlu.The district covers an area of 473 km2 (183 sq mi) and the city lies at an elevation of 68 m (223 ft). The district is the most populous after the province center of Manisa in its province and it is the second most populous district center, i.e. excluding province centers, in Turkey's Aegean Region.
The name derives from the name of the Turkish clan of "Turgutlu" (also cited as "Turgut" or "Turgutoğlu"), recorded as having provided the main support to the Beylik of Karaman during their time of existence  and mentioned in historical records as an important political entity as late as the 18th century Iran. Their settlement in Turgutlu region is thought to have taken place some time in the 15th century at the same time as the Ottoman unification of Anatolia which resulted in the demise of Karamanids. That nearby Manisa was the center where Ottoman shahzades (crown princes) received their education must have placed the clan once again in a non-negligible position in their relations this time with the Ottoman dynasty.
The city was alternatively called Kasaba (often spelled as Casaba or Cassaba in the 19th century Western sources also), which simply means "the town". People of Turgutlu still often use the term "Kasabalı" to define themselves and despite the general signification of the word (Kasaba being "the town", Kasabalı means "the townspeople"), people across Turkey usually understand when Turgutlu is being specifically referred to.
The term Casaba melons derive from the name of the city, an echo of its 18th-19th century past when it was an important regional trade center and hub, located in the middle of a fertile alluvial plain and with access to outside markets through nearby İzmir.
There are two townships with their own municipalities within the district (Urganlı and Derbent) and 37 villages and nine village dependencies or hamlets. Turgutlu center has an annual population increase rate of 2,41 per cent and the district as a whole 1,8 per cent which places its region right after the central district of the province seat of Manisa. Turgutlu center is at a distance of only 31 km to Manisa, to which it depends administratively, and at a distance of 50 km to the international portuary center of İzmir. Its closeness to these two metropolitan centers both of which have a deep and rooted history marked Turgutlu's destiny since its foundation in the 15th century. Today, the intense industrial activities in the even nearer İzmir district of Kemalpaşa also find considerable repercussions in Turgutlu, which itself has a reputation of being one of the prominent centers of soil industry in Turkey.
There are 44 primary schools and 14 schools providing intermediate education in Turgutlu district, bringing together 1,189 teachers and 28,767 students. There is also a higher professional school, a department of Celal Bayar University, at the district center. The state hospital at Turgutlu center has a bed capacity of 250, and there are also eleven health centers, all corresponding to a health professionals corpus of 370, 135 of whom are doctors.
At fifty-six per cent, Turgutlu district has the highest proportion of agricultural lands across Manisa Province districts in its territory, while the forest lands covering a total area close to twenty thousand hectares, are also of considerable extent.
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Reconstructed from scratch as of the 1920s, modern Turgutlu is, in addition to a productive agricvultural sector, also an important industrial base structured under a Chamber of Industry founded in 1926. It is home to the production installations of Tukaş, one of the most prominent producers of canned food (principally vegetables and fruits) in Turkey, as well as to BMC (Turkey), the Turkish branch of the motor vehicle giant BMC, active principally in commercial vehicles, trucks and buses. The town's industrial sector as a whole displays as high a degree of dynamism as its agricultural production, with many small- and medium-sized enterprises active in various fields. Also Seramiksan, one of the leading tile manufacturers of Turkey specialized in the production of ceramic wall and floor tiles, glazed and technical porcelain tiles, has their production installations in Turgutlu.
Experimental mining of nickel laterites by using a heap leach process in Mount Çal near Turgutlu started in 2005 by a Turkish subsidiary of European Nickel PLC. The reserves are estimated to be 33 million tons of ore at 1.13% Nickel and 0.08% cobalt content. The planned development of a nickel mine and processing plant could deeply influence the district's economy with a potential to become one of the most important investments in Turkey's Aegean Region.
For more information about Turgutlu http://turgutlulu.com can visit the web site.
The town was an important regional trade center and hub already since the 18th century. It acquired further importance once it became the first terminus of the 93 km. Smyrna Cassaba Railway whose construction was started from İzmir in 1863 and which arrived in Kasaba in 1866. This railway was the third started within the territory of the Ottoman Empire at the time and the first finished within the present-day territory of Turkey.
Instead of being laid along the direct route eastwards from İzmir to Turgutlu, about fifty kilometers in length, the line built drew a wide arc advancing first to the north-west from İzmir, through its Karşıyaka suburb to whose foundation it contributed greatly, and curves eastwards only from Menemen on, crossing the former sanjak and the present-day province center of Manisa to join Turgutlu from the north. Belkahve Pass between Mount Nif and Mount Sipylus on the direct road from İzmir and Turgutlu must have been judged too difficult for a track at the time. This railway was later extended further eastwards reaching a total length exceeding seven hundred kilometers but the operating company preserved the name Smyrna Cassaba. The first concession under the name was granted to a locally based English entrepreneur named Edward Price, who founded the company and built the line, and sold it in 1893 to the Franco-Belgian group Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, which extended it. The line was nationalized in 1934 by the young Republic of Turkey in the frame of a general move started in the 1920s regarding Turkey's railways.
The town was made into a kaza (district center) in 1868. During the final years of the Ottoman Empire, Kasaba was already a large town whose population well exceeded ten thousand people. During the 1910s, Kasaba was recorded by sources such as G. Sotiriadis (1918) and S. Anagiostopoulou (1997) as having a Greek population averaging at around one sixth of the total, between 3500 to 6000, in a subdistrict aggregate of thirty-five thousand and a center town population of around fourteen thousand.
Turgutlu during the Turkish War of Independence
Turgutlu remained under Greek occupation between 29 May 1919 and 7 September 1922. The most bitter blow suffered by the town has been the fire started by the retreating Greek army on 5 September 1922, and which has lasted for two whole days, destroying 6127 buildings in a total of 6328, the historic Pasha Mosque, and the 20000 manuscript books preserved in the town library, as well as at the very least a thousand human lives (based on the corpses that could be counted). The survival of another historical monument, the Hacı Zeynel Mosque and of the surrounding small agglomeration is locally still interpreted as divine intervention.
According to a number of sources, the retreating Greek army carried out a scorched-earth policy while fleeing from Anatolia during the final phase of the war. James Loder Park, the U.S. Vice-Consul in Constantinople at the time, who toured much of the devastated area immediately after the Greek evacuation, described the situation in the surrounding cities and towns of İzmir he has seen, as follows:
" Cassaba (present day Turgutlu) was a town of 40,000 souls, 3,000 of whom were non-Muslims. Of these 37,000 Turks only 6,000 could be accounted for among the living, while 1,000 Turks were known to have been shot or burned to death. Of the 2,000 buildings that constituted the city, only 200 remained standing. Ample testimony was available to the effect that the city was systematically destroyed by Greek soldiers, assisted by a number of Greek and Armenian civilians. Kerosene and gasoline were freely used to make the destruction more certain, rapid and complete."
According to a report of the Consul Park 90% of the buildings of the town were destroyed, as result of organized operations accompanied by several atrocities.
Notable people from Turgutlu
Hüsnü Sönmezer, writer of two poetry books; "Bir Büyük Kentti Düşlerindeki" and "Al Sevdani Gönlümden" is born and worked over 20 years in Turgutlu. Currently he lives in Izmir and sample of some of his poems can be found in here
Prof. Hakki Önel, former Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at Yildiz Technical University (YTU) in Istanbul was born in Turgutlu. He is the main architect of various municipal buildings & urban planning projects in Turgutlu. He has taught in YTU over 30 years and he rests in peace in Turgutlu as of 10 November 2013.
Dr. Bilge Sonmezer (Born in Istanbul, 1972), whose PhD Thesis is the first academic study focuses on the comparison of project management of Oil & Gas Industry projects vs Real Estate, have graduated from Ulku Ilkokulu (Primary School) in Turgutlu in 1983. He was the Senior Project Manager of worldwide renowned projects i.e. World Island Resort Dubai, Kulhamile Resort Maldives etc. As of 2013 he is assigned as consultant to Chevron's affiliated company in Kazakhstan; TCO (TengizChevroil).
- "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
- "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
- Colin Imber (1990). The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1481, p. 190, ISBN 978-975-428-015-9. Isis Press, Istanbul.
- A short line built in Dobruja (now in Romania) was started and finished earlier, and İzmir-Aydın railway was started earlier in 1856 but finished a year after Smyrna Cassaba Railway in 1867.
- Ed. Ralf Roth - Günter Dinhobl (2008). Across the Borders: Financing the World's Railways in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, ISBN 978-0-7546-6029-3. Ashgate Publishing.
- The relayer of the demographic data according to Greek sources, the researcher Georgios Nakratzas adds as a personal note that his own maternal family who were from Kasaba's Hamzabeyli village were at the origin economic migrants who had immigrated to Anatolia in the 1770s from Mani Peninsula in mainland Greece.
- James Loder Park, the U.S. Vice-Consul in İstanbul at the time, who toured much of the devastated area immediately after the Greek evacuation, described the situation in the western Anatolian cities and towns he has seen, as follows: "Manisa...almost completely wiped out by fire (...). Cassaba (present day Turgutlu) was a town of 40,000 souls, 3,000 of whom were non-Moslems. Of these 37,000 Turks only 6,000 could be accounted for among the living, while 1,000 Turks were known to have been shot or burned to death. Of the 2,000 buildings that constituted the city, only 200 remained standing. Ample testimony was available to the effect that the city was systematically destroyed (...). Kerosene and gasoline were freely used to make the destruction more certain, rapid and complete. (...) The percentages of buildings destroyed in (...) Manisa [was] 90 percent, [in] Cassaba (Turgutlu) 90 percent, [in] Alaşehir 70 percent, [in] Salihli 65 percent. The burning of these cities was not desultory, nor intermittent, nor accidental, but well planned and thoroughly organized. (...) Without complete figures, (...) it may safely be surmised that 'atrocities' [consisting of murder, torture and rape] committed by retiring Greeks numbered well into thousands in the four cities under consideration."
- Sydney Nettleton Fisher, The Middle East: a history, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969, p. 386
- U.S. Vice-Consul James Loder Park to Secretary of State, Smyrna, 11 April 1923. US archives US767.68116/34