In case you are interested in travelling to Turkey, Istanbul can be among the cities you may be wanting to visit. About this city, you may have some questions in your mind. For instance, if you have learned that the capital city of Turkey is Ankara, you may be curious about the reason why Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey.
For many countries, the capital city is also the largest city. Examples to this include countries such as Japan, France, Germany, Egypt and many more… But for some countries, this is not the case. As Istanbul is the largest city by population in Turkey, you may have thought that it is the capital of Turkey, while it is not. So, what is the reason why Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey?
As a city with an important location, the area where Istanbul is situated today has had a significance for various cultures through history. Both for the Byzantines and the Ottomans, this area functioned as the center of administration. However, while today Istanbul is within the borders of Turkey, it is not its capital city. If you are curious about this topic, let’s talk about the reasons why Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey.
Table of Contents
Why Istanbul is Not the Capital of Turkey – Some Background
Istanbul is not the capital city of Turkey. But there are some people who think that it is the case. If you are not aware of this misconception, you may be wondering why people would think such a thing. So let’s talk a bit about some background regarding this misconception.
Istanbul is a city with a fairly long history and through its history it had significance for many civilizations like the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire. One of the reasons why some people can be thinking that Istanbul is the capital of Turkey may be this historical importance.
In addition to this, Istanbul is still an important city today. It is the largest city of Turkey by population and it is the economic center of Turkey. It is among the most visited and most popular cities in Turkey. As a result of this, some people may think that this city is the capital of Turkey, even though it is not. Well, then what is the reason why Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey?
Why Istanbul Used to Be the Capital for Many Civilizations in the Area?
You may be wondering why Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey, as it is a city that historically functioned as the administrative center for numerous civilizations. As a strategically located city, it had importance for Greeks and Romans. For the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ottomans, along with the Latin Empire for a brief period, Istanbul was the capital city. So, why did many civilizations utilized this city in this way and what is the importance of this area?
As it is seen as a city that connects Europe and Asia together, Constantinople had an advantageous location in terms of trade. So one of the reasons why Constantinople was important was due to economy. Along with this, with its location, Constantinople had advantages in terms of defense, too. Also, in many periods in the history, Constantinople had a high population.
These are some of the important reasons behind the significance of Constantinople for various civilizations, and there are many others, too. Now before we start discussing the reasons why Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey, let’s briefly talk about if Istanbul was the capital of the Ottoman Empire.
Was Istanbul the Capital of the Ottoman Empire?
Today Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey and you may be wondering why Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey. Before Turkey, this city was within the borders of the Ottoman Empire. Like the Eastern Roman Empire before it, the city was important for the Ottomans, as well. The Conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans happened in 1453 and after that, the city was designated as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire.
From 1453 to 1922, Istanbul functioned as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire. Before 1453, Ottomans had utilized cities like Bursa and Edirne as their capital. As a city with a strategically important location, Istanbul was used as their administrative center by the Ottomans. So after the year when it was conquered by the Ottomans and until the fall of the Ottoman Empire, this city was the Ottoman Empire’s capital. Now that we have discussed this topic, let’s begin talking about the reasons why Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey.
Expanation of Why Istanbul is Not the Capital of Turkey
As we have discussed, Istanbul has been an important city for many civilizations and today it is still a very significant place. However, unlike the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey. So as it is still a significant city, you may be wondering why Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey.
Well, the simple answer is that historically, as the Republic of Turkey was established, Ankara was chosen as the capital city. At the time, Ankara was a more suitable choice compared to Istanbul. Then, following this period, the capital city wasn’t changed as there wasn’t good enough reason to do so and this change also symbolized the change from the Ottoman Empire to Turkey. Basically the reason why Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey is because at some point Ankara was chosen and the decision was kept.
1. Ankara Had a More Suitable Location During the Turkish War of Independence as the Center of Turkish Forces
World War 1 changed a lot of things for many countries. One of these countries was the Ottoman Empire, which was partitioned after its defeat in the war. Although historically it had a highly strategic location in terms of defense, with the changing conditions of war, Istanbul was in the hands of the invading powers, while some of the places in Anatolia were not.
To resist against the invaders, Atatürk, along with others, started the Turkish War of Independence in Samsun, a city in the Black Sea Region of Turkey. With its strategic location, Ankara was utilized as the center of the Turkish forces in this war. Following Turkish victory in this war, the Republic of Turkey was founded and Ankara was designated as its capital. So the reason why Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey is because Ankara was chosen for this purpose.
2. After the War, the Capital of Turkey Wasn’t Changed
The reason why Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey is because Ankara is its capital. During the Turkish War of Independence, Ankara was a more suitable place for using as the administrative center.
After the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, the capital city wasn’t changed to Istanbul because there wasn’t a good reason for this. It became evident after World War 1 that Istanbul could be controlled by the enemy forces in case of an invasion and Ankara could be a more strategic place for defense.
Also, Ankara is in a central location in Turkey and it is closer to many other areas of the country, while Istanbul is located in the Marmara Region and it is far away from many cities in Turkey. For Ottomans, one of the reasons why Istanbul was important was its proximity to the Balkans. As the Republic of Turkey had no intentions of expanding in that direction, this factor was no longer relevant.
3. Differentiating the Republic of Turkey from the Ottoman Empire
For Ottoman Empire, Istanbul has importance due to many reasons. One of those reasons was Istanbul had been the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, and by taking this city and making it their capital, some Ottoman sultans including Fatih Sultan Mehmed, prided themselves on being the heirs of the Roman Empire.
So, we can say that aside from its practical advantages, Istanbul had a symbolic importance, too. But for the Republic of Turkey, this symbolic importance didn’t have significance. Also, one of the reasons why Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey is because choosing Ankara as the capital instead of Istanbul was a way to differentiate Turkey from the Ottoman Empire.
Why Istanbul is Not the Capital of Turkey Final Words
If you are interested in learning about Istanbul, you may have various questions about this city, such as “what is Istanbul famous for?” and “why is Istanbul not the capital of Turkey?”.
On this blog post, we have talked about the reason why Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey. Simply put, Ankara was chosen as the capital of Turkey during its establishment, instead of Istanbul. And in the following period, the capital city wasn’t changed because of having no good reason to do so.
Although Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey, it is still an important city due to many reasons. Istanbul is an awesome city that can be worth visiting.