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Is Istanbul the capital of Turkey? Common misconceptions

Is Istanbul the capital of Turkey? We know that this question is very curious. Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey. The capital of Turkey is Ankara. However, Istanbul is Turkey's largest city and an important cultural and economic center. Istanbul has been the capital of various empires throughout history. In this content, we will tell you about Istanbul's adventure of becoming the capital. Read on for details.

Is Istanbul the capital of Turkey? Common misconceptions
Is Istanbul the capital of Turkey?

Is Istanbul the capital of Turkey? We know that this question is very much wondered. Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey. The capital of Turkey is Ankara. However, Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city and a significant cultural and economic hub. Istanbul has served as the capital for various empires throughout history.

States that have previously designated Istanbul as their capital

Istanbul has been used as a capital city in the past. Throughout its history, Istanbul served as the capital for three different empires:

  1. Roman Empire Era: Istanbul, known as Byzantion in ancient times, was chosen as the capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine I in AD 330. Consequently, the city’s name was changed to Constantinople. As the Roman Empire split into East and West, Constantinople remained the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire, for several centuries.
  2. Byzantine Empire Era: Istanbul was used as the capital for an extended period during the Byzantine Empire. It became the cultural and political center of the Byzantine Empire, with iconic structures like Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace constructed during this time.
  3. Ottoman Empire Era: In 1453, Istanbul was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, and it became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Istanbul served as the Ottoman capital for 400 years, accumulating significant cultural and historical richness during this period. Notable landmarks such as Topkapı Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque), and Süleymaniye Mosque were built during the Ottoman era.

However, after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, the capital was officially moved to Ankara, and Istanbul is no longer the capital city. Today, Ankara serves as the capital of Turkey.

the bosphorus in istanbul
Why is Istanbul not the capital of Turkey?

Why is Istanbul not the capital of Turkey?

The idea of moving the capital of the Ottoman Empire from Istanbul to the heart of Anatolia was first proposed by Marshal Von Der Goltz, who served in the Ottoman army for 16 years. After the Second Constitutional Era, during a military council meeting, he stated:

“Move the capital from Istanbul to Anatolia, for Istanbul is not a suitable place for work and business. Nature wanted to bring paradise to earth and chose Istanbul with its Bosphorus, Çamlıca, and Islands. Half of the day is spent on the roads, and the rest with your visitors.” He argued that Istanbul was not strategically suitable to be the capital and said, “A capital cannot be at the ends or edges of transportation routes; it should be in the middle. Look for a capital in the center.”

Von Der Goltz’s view gained more serious consideration, especially in 1912 when the Bulgarian army advanced close to Catalca. When the Bulgarian army approached Istanbul, European newspapers also reported on this issue, and Istanbul newspapers joined the discussion. For example, Ferit Bey, the chief editor of the Vazife newspaper, stated, “A capital cannot be established in a location exposed to danger from three sides” and “For the safety of the nation and the country, the capital must be established at the heart of the homeland.”

This topic, which came to the forefront in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, took on a different dimension after the occupation of Istanbul by the Allied Powers following World War I. As effective resistance could not be mounted against the Allied Powers in occupied Istanbul, the center of resistance shifted to Ankara, located in the heart of Anatolia.

By then, Ankara was already widely seen as the center of the New Turkey. The decisive step was taken on October 9, 1923, following the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne. A proposal was submitted to the parliament, with the signature of Ismet Inönü and 13 deputies, to make Ankara the capital. The reasons given for the proposal were as follows: After the Treaty of Lausanne and the evacuation protocol, there was no territory left under occupation, and the country’s integrity was restored. It was time to determine the administrative center of Turkey. Due to the decisions regarding the Straits (establishment of the Straits Commission) in the Treaty of Lausanne, the administrative center had to be in the center of Anatolia. The proposal was accepted in the general assembly of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on October 13, 1923, and Ankara became the capital of Turkey.

Frequently Asked Questions About Istanbul
Istanbul, Turkey

Frequently Asked Questions About Istanbul

Although Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey, it is the most important city in Turkey in economic, historical and cultural terms. We answered the questions about whether Istanbul is the capital or not.

Is Istanbul the capital of Turkey?

Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey. The capital of Turkey is Ankara.

Is Istanbul still the capital of Turkey?

Certainly, here’s a rephrased version:

Indeed, Ankara is the present-day capital of Turkey, while Istanbul, despite its status as Turkey’s most populous city, ceased to be the capital in 1923.

Is Istanbul the capital of the world?

Starting from the 16th century, Istanbul, as the epicenter of the Islamic world, gained global significance. This was due to the Ottoman Sultans holding the title of Caliph, making Istanbul not only the capital of the Islamic world but also a melting pot of diverse religions and cultures from around the globe.

When was Istanbul made the capital of Turkey?

On May 29, 1453, Sultan Mehmed II, famously known as “the Conqueror,” successfully breached the Walls of Theodosius II after a 53-day siege, gaining entry into Constantinople. This historic event marked the transformation of the city into the Ottoman Empire’s fourth and ultimate capital.

Why does Istanbul belong to Turkey?

The city underwent its ultimate siege and conquest by the Ottoman Empire in 1453, and it remained under Ottoman rule until the early 20th century. Following this period, it was renamed Istanbul under the successor state of the Empire, which is modern-day Turkey.

Why did Turkey rename Istanbul?

On this day in 1930, the government led by Ataturk officially decreed the change of Constantinople’s name to Istanbul. This directive extended to all nations, urging them to adopt Turkish names for cities. The renaming of the city was a significant component of a broader modernization initiative aimed at transforming Turkey and dissociating it from its Ottoman history.

When did Istanbul stop being the capital of Turkey?

In 1923, following the Turkish War of Independence, Ankara assumed the role of the capital for the newly established Republic of Turkey, replacing Istanbul in that capacity.

Is Istanbul the largest city in the world?

Istanbul stands as one of the most densely populated urban centers globally, holding the distinction of being the world’s seventh-largest city by population and the largest city within Europe. Its origins trace back to around 660 BCE when it was established as Byzantion on the Sarayburnu promontory. Over time, the city evolved into one of the most historically significant metropolises in the world.

Why is Istanbul so important?

Istanbul held a pivotal role due to its strategic positioning, serving as a hub for trade routes connecting a vast expanse of regions. These routes linked Europe, Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, the Caucasus, the Russian steppe, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean Basin, making the city a vital nexus in the intricate web of global commerce and cultural exchange.

Is Istanbul the largest city in Europe?

Istanbul claims the title of being Europe’s most populous city, boasting a population of 15,840,900 as of 2021. Moscow follows as the second-largest city, recording a population of 12,632,409 in 2022, while London secures the third position with a population of 8,799,800 in 2021.

What country owned Istanbul before Turkey?

Istanbul, known as İstanbul in Turkish and formerly referred to as Constantinople and ancient Byzantium, holds the distinction of being Turkey’s largest city and its primary seaport. This historic city served as the capital for both the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Situated on a triangular peninsula, the old walled city of Istanbul straddles the continents of Europe and Asia, marking its unique geographical and historical significance.

Is Istanbul bigger than London?

Istanbul encompasses an expansive area of approximately 5,343 square kilometers (2,063 square miles), positioning it among the world’s most extensive urban centers in terms of land size. In contrast, London covers about 1,572 square kilometers (607 square miles). Additionally, Istanbul boasts a larger population compared to London.

Why is it Istanbul not Constantinople?

The Ottoman Empire formally referred to the city as Constantinople (or, more accurately, its Arabic variant, Konstantiniyye) until its dissolution in 1923. It wasn’t until the establishment of the modern Turkish republic that the city’s name was officially altered to Istanbul.

Hello, I'm Aylin, and I live in Muğla. I have a passion for traveling, and I'm happy to share the experiences I've gained with you here. 📰🧠 #AylinKeskin"

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