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Petition to Make Turkish Province Look Like ‘Batman’ Logo Gets 26,000 Signatures

In 2008, a local mayor also tried to sue Christopher Nolan for stealing the name of 'Batman city', claiming 'there is only one Batman in the world.'
05 August 2019, 4:00am
Proposed borders around Batman province in Turkey

There are more than 26,000 people in the world who want the borders of Turkey’s Batman province to change. At the time of writing, 26,043 signatories have put their name down on a petition to redraw Batman’s borders in the shape of the eponymous superhero’s logo—a move that would likely see the province absorbing a number of new townships in the region, while discharging a number of others. At 35,000 signatures, the appeal will be issued to the Governor of Batman.

“Batman needs some change!” declares the Change.org campaign, which was launched about a year ago by a certain Kemal Atakan Kırca. “We can start with the border. By changing the border, we can make it more realistic.”

As it stands, the boundaries around Batman—located in Turkey’s southeast, near the borders of Syria and Iraq—are fairly nondescript. The province more closely resembles a mangled chicken nugget than it does the iconic batarang shape. This petition aims to change that.

“It's a big loss not to have done [it] so far,” claims one petitioner as a reason for signing, while another states "I want Batman to get what he deserves.” A third simply observes that “we batman people love bats.”

In reality, the Turkish form of the word—pronounced “baht-mahn”—has nothing to do with flying mammals, but refers instead to an old measure of weight. Nonetheless, this isn’t the first time Batman province has sought to capitalise on its heroic namesake.

In 2008, Hüseyin Kalkan—former mayor of the provincial capital Batman city—announced that he was suing film director Christopher Nolan for allegedly stealing his city's name and using it to earn money. "There is only one Batman in the world,” he declared. “The American producers used the name of our city without informing us."

Hüseyin went as far as to blame a number of unsolved murders, as well as a high rate of suicide among young women, on the psychological impact that the Dark Knight films inflicted on the city’s inhabitants.

“We expect a huge compensation from this,” he declared, pledging to use the money to help women and street children. The lawsuit was ultimately unsuccessful.

Unlike the case of the Turkey bird, named after a type of fowl brought to Europe by the Turks, the Batman superhero is unlikely to have been inspired from Turkish origins. As it turns out, comic book writer Bob Kane created the character in 1939—a full 18 years before the Turkish city received its modern name. Batman City was previously known as Iluh, before being renamed in 1957 after Batman River, a major tributary of the nearby Tigris River. The larger province takes its name from this same river.

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This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.