Istanbul (1915 -1922) / The old Constantinople & the new Istanbul in Ataturk’s Republican Era
Constantinople was once the capital city of Roman, Byzantine, Latin and the Ottoman Empire and the city was renamed as Istanbul in 1923 after the founding of the Republic of Turkey. The first map was documented in 1902 that Istanbul was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire while the second map was drawn in 1924 in the republic era.
During the Ottoman Period, Istanbul was once the centre of political power, the heart of the imperial mosques and also one of the largest trading ports between the boundary of Asia and Europe. Moving to the period of the Republic of Turkey, Ataturk has conducted a series of political reform policies which include the shifting of the capital and the renaming of the city.
I think that this political gesture has a much larger implication than just the geographical advantage compared with Ankara. The Ataturk reform policies were largely based on the ideology of Kemalism or the Six Arrow proposed in his early year after the founding the Republic of Turkey. Under these six fundamental pillars, one of the principles is secularism that proposed the separation of the state power with the religious institution. During the Ottoman era, large number of mosques was being built in Istanbul that the powers of some large religious institutions have large interference on state affairs resulting in corruptions and inefficiency. By moving the capital to Ankara, Ataturk would like to draw a clear line from his new established republic power with the symbolism of the Islamic and the imperial power embedded in the old Constantinople. In the new map, we could see that there are more boulevards, public squares and green space compared with the old one. Most of these urban voids and public space were planned after the War of Independence. In the post-war redevelopment, Ataturk has the intention to decentralize Istanbul by redistributing some of the resource in developing other cities in Turkey while preserving the historical fabric and palimpsests of the city.
Source of Maps: Societe anonyme ottomane d’etudes et d’enterprises urbaines, Princeton Library, 1922