Geopolitics of Istambul


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Geopolitics of Istambul

  1. 1. INTRODUCTIONIstanbul historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbulmetropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% ofTurkeys population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and Moscow. Thecity in its administrative limits had 8.8 million residents counted in the latest Turkish census from2000. Istanbul is a megacity, as well as the cultural, economic, and financial centre of Turkey. It islocated on the Bosporus Strait and encompasses the natural harbor known as the Golden Horn, inthe northwest of the country. It extends both on the European (Thrace) and on the Asian (Anatolia)sides of the Bosporus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world that is situated ontwo continents. Istanbul is a designated alpha world city.During its long history, Istanbul has served as the capital of the Roman Empire (330–395),the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261),and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). When the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed on 29 October1923, Ankara, which had previously served as the headquarters of the Turkish nationalmovement during the Turkish War of Independence, was chosen as the new Turkish States capital.Istanbul was chosen as a joint European Capital of Culture for 2010 and the European Capital ofSports for 2012. Istanbul is currently bidding to host the2020 Summer Olympics. The historic areasof the city were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. The city covers 39 districts ofthe Istanbul province.A BRIEF HISTORY OF ISTAMBULIts thought that people inhabited the area now known as Istanbul from 3000 BC, but the citys realhistory began in 658 BC, with the appearance of Byzas from Megara. The Greek King founded agreat city, calling it Byzantion, meaning The City of Byzas. Thanks to its location and climate, thecity grew rapidly and its people made a living from fishing.Byzantions power and position quickly gained the city enemies. The citizens spent years fending offthe Thracian barbarians, and in 196 AD Byzantion was captured by the Roman Emperor SeptimusSeverus, who made many improvements to the city - after sacking it first.In 330, Constantine the Great declared the city as the capital of the Roman Empire, and named itafter himself: Constantinople. He undertook huge construction works to make the city trulymagnificent and reminiscent of Rome.The city prospered under Roman rule until 395 when the sons of emperor Theodosius I divided theempire after his death. Constantinople became the new capital of the Byzantine Empire, and the citytook on a Greek flavour. In its position at the centre of two continents, it had huge influence in trade,culture and politics, and became very wealthy.Over hundreds of years the great city was attacked by troops from all over the Middle East, and wasfor a short time even ruled by the members of the Fourth Crusade, becoming the centre of theCatholic Latin Empire. Caught between the Byzantine and the Latin empires, the city began to suffereconomically, and its population dwindled and became vulnerable to more attacks. During this timethe city was captured by the Byzantine Emperor.At the same time, the Ottoman Turks began capturing the cities around Constantinople, rendering itcut off from its neighbours. Eventually, the Ottomans captured the besieged and weakened city,which became the capital of the Ottoman Empire and was renamed Istanbul.
  2. 2. The Ottoman leader Sultan Mehmet began to rebuild the city. He created the Grand Bazaar, builtseveral significant structures, opened schools, hospitals, mosques and public baths. He alsoencouraged a mixed population, and Muslim, Christian and Jewish populations lived peacefullytogether in the city.The Ottoman Empire ruled Istanbul until it was occupied by the allies in World War I.Istanbul became part of the Turkish Republic in 1923, but Ankara became the capital, and investorsfocussed on the central city, overlooking Istanbul. However, in the 1940s and 1950s, Istanbul beganto blossom once more, with new squares, boulevards and avenues built.Since the 1970s, Istanbuls population has grown rapidly, and the city has spread outwards, creatinga huge and prosperous metropolis. In 1985 the citys historical monuments and areas were added tothe UNESCO World Heritage list. And this year, in recognition of the citys huge cultural influenceand spectacular history, Istanbul has been named the European Capital of Culture by the EuropeanUnion.GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION AND STRATEGIC IMPORTANCEIstanbul is located in northwestern Turkey within the Marmara Region on a total area of 5,343square kilometers (2,063 sq mi). The Bosphorus, which connects the Sea of Marmara to the BlackSea, divides the city into a European side, comprising the historic and economic centers, and anAsian, Anatolian side; as such, Istanbul is one of the two bi-continental cities in Turkey, alongwith Çanakkale. The city is further divided by the Golden Horn, a natural harbor bounding thepeninsula where the former Byzantium and Constantinople were founded. In the late-19th century, awharf was constructed in Galata at the mouth of the Golden Horn, replacing a sandy beach thatonce formed part of the inlets coastline. The confluence of the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus, andthe Golden Horn at the heart of present-day Istanbul has deterred attacking forces for thousands ofyears and still remains a prominent feature of the citys landscape.The historic peninsula is said to be built on seven hills, each topped by an imperial mosque,surrounded by 22 kilometers (14 mi) of city walls; the largest of these hills is the site of TopkapıPalace on the Sarayburnu. Rising from the opposite side of the Golden Horn is another, conical hill,where the modern Beyoğlu district is situated. Because of the topography, buildings were onceconstructed with the help of terraced retaining walls (some of which are still visible in older parts ofthe city), and roads in Beyoğlu were laid out in the form of steps. Üsküdar on the Asian side exhibitssimilarly hilly characteristics, with the terrain gradually extending down to the Bosphorus coast, butthe landscape in Şemsipaşa and Ayazma is more abrupt, akin to a promontory. The highest point inIstanbul is Çamlıca Hill (also on the Asian side), with an altitude of 288 meters (945 ft).Istanbul is situated near the North Anatolian Fault on the boundary betweenthe African and Eurasian plates. This fault zone, which runs from northern Anatolia to the Sea ofMarmara, has been responsible for several deadly earthquakes throughout the citys history. Amongthe most devastating of these seismic events was the 1509 earthquake, which caused a tsunamithat broke over the walls of the city, destroyed over 100 mosques, and killed more than 10,000people. More recently, in 1999, an earthquake with its epicenter in nearby Izmir left 17,000 peopledead, including 1,000 people in Istanbuls suburbs. The people of Istanbul remain concerned that aneven more catastrophic seismic event may be in Istanbuls near future, as thousands of structuresrecently built to accommodate the citys rapidly increasing population may not have been
  3. 3. constructed properly. Seismologists say the risk of a 7.6-magnitude earthquake striking Istanbul by2030 is greater than sixty percent.CLIMATEThere is no definite climate type for the whole Istanbul Province. Because of its geographic locationand physical geographic features, it carries different climate features than the ones in the samelatitudes.Being in the low-pressure and high-pressure zones which repeats twice in order, starting fromequator on the earth, Istanbul (41 degree north latitude and 29 degree east longitude, Istanbul is inthe borders of subtropical high pressure zone and cold-warm part of low-pressure zone; orterrestrial (dry) alize winds and west winds (humid and rainy) of sea. With the movement of earth,various climate conditions are experienced in winter and summer.Throughout the year, three types of weather are dominant in Istanbul. One is coming from north andsouth and the other is more calm weather type. Weather types of east-west direction bound areinsignificant. Among these three types of weather, highest frequency (most frequent blowing) onecomes along when the northern winds are dominant. There are four phases according to theseasons; two transition phases of one short and one long with hot and cold periods.Works CitedA Brief History Of Istanbul. (n.d.). Retrieved 12 8, 2011, from PROPERTY TURKEY FOR SALE: LOCATION AND STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE. (n.d.). Retrieved 12 8, 2011, fromISTAMBUL2010: of Istanbul. (2001, DECEMBER). Retrieved 12 8, 2011, from THE FLYING KIWI: History of Istanbul. (n.d.). Retrieved 12 8, 2011, from TWARP:
  4. 4. REPUBLIC OF TURKEY. (n.d.). Retrieved 12 8, 2011, from The Changes Brought by the Republic :