Batman's Weird Relationship With Batman, Turkey (An Actual City)

And the dark truth behind those viral "City Named Batman Sues Christopher Nolan" stories.
Batman's Weird Relationship With Batman, Turkey (An Actual City)

For over 80 years, Batman has evolved and changed while still being one of the biggest forces in pop culture. This week, Cracked is doing a deep dive into the Dark Knight.

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If you ever find yourself wandering around Southeast Turkey, there's a real possibility you might run into Batman -- hell, over 400,000 people are inside Batman right now. We're talking, of course, about the city of Batman, Turkey, located in Batman Province, whose border is marked by the Batman river, home to Batman dam and the elusive Batman river loach, a particularly sneaky type of fish that was believed extinct for almost 50 years until it resurfaced in 2021 (it was merely waiting for the perfect moment to strike back at humanity). 

According to Wikipedia, aside from refining oil at Batman Oil Refinery, "Batman produces beverages, processed food, chemicals, furniture, footwear, machinery and transport equipment" -- there's scarcely any time left for punching deformed gangsters. While in Batman, you can visit Batman University ... 

Building with sign reading "Batman Universitesi" on the front.

Learn about Batman history at the Batman Museum ... 

Watch Batman Petrolspor face off against 72 Batmanspor at Batman arena ... 

Or simply read the results of the match on the Batman Gazetesi

Front page of Batman Gazetesi newspaper.

Batman Gazetesi

Check it out; they wear face masks on the street, like superheroes! What a fun place. 

Batman got its name from the namesake river, which either got it by shortening the name of the nearby Bati Raman mountain or from the ancient batman unit of measure (yes, in Turkey, you can say, "I ate too much Batman (loach) at Batman and now I weigh 12 batmans"). The city itself was called Iluh until 1957, almost 20 years after the debut of some obscure comic book character of the same name. 

Despite that, in 2008, Batman went viral due to a news story about the current mayor suing Christopher Nolan for using the city's name without permission in The Dark Knight. "There is only one Batman in the world," said the mayor, who also blamed "a number of unsolved murders and a high female suicide rate on the psychological impact that the film's success has had on the city's inhabitants." Apparently, Batman residents can't look at Box Office Mojo without being driven into a murderous rage. 

Of course, the truth of the viral story was darker than those punny headlines led us to believe. Female suicide was a huge problem in the city, but not due to depression triggered by Christian Bale's cinematic escapades. As reported by The New York Times and The Guardian, in this part of Turkey it's common for women caught being sexually active before marriage to be pressured into suicide by their parents, so their brothers didn't "have" to kill them to preserve the family's “honor.” The media attention on Batman's social and economic problems led a journalist to ask the mayor why he hadn't sued the makers of the Batman movies yet. The mayor agreed that this would be a good way to get money -- or, more likely, provide a silly distraction from the horror going on in his city. 

It worked. We went from headlines like ... 

Headline reading "Death comes easily to the young women of Batman"

Irish Times

To a flood of headlines like ... 

Headline reading "Holy Lawsuits, Batman! Turkish City to Sue 'Dark Knight' Producer"

Deutsche Welle

Headline reading "Batman sues Batman over Batman"

The Register

As of 2016, young women in Batman were still at risk of being killed or "suicided" for something as dumb as chatting with friends on their phones. It really sounds like the city needs (perhaps even deserves) a protector of some sort. Like Green Lantern or something. 

Follow Maxwell Yezpitelok's heroic effort to read and comment on every '90s Superman comic at  

Top image: Bryce Edwards/Wikimedia Commons, Warner Bros. Pictures 


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