I am aware that I am part of a minority group in Turkey who is obsessed with maps.
For most of the people in our country, there is no need to pay attention to a map. You can find any regular travel map or school atlas in a bookstore. But even a major bookstore in Istanbul does not have a special map section like every bookstore in Europe. Bookstores here offer some maps along with travel books, nothing more. The maps are usually on the scale of 1:200,000 if you need to see the entirety of Turkey, it becomes 1:1,000,000. There is no reference to villages in these maps only major rivers and dams are indicated thousands of creeks, lakes or small rivers are neglected. Even the names of the hills, valleys or summits are ignored.
If you try to comprehend Turkey in geographical terms, you might conclude that it has deserts. The maps of Turkey do not indicate the reality on the ground and what should be depicted there. If you ask why this is the case and why we do not have an aanced culture of map-reading, you will find that a law made in the 1930s and an institution built in the 19th century are the culprits. This law prohibits maps larger than 1:5,000 or smaller than 1:50,000. Any map in this range, for instance, something on the scale of 1:25,000, is considered important in military terms and is prohibited. This ban has been observed by the Maps General Command, part the Defense Ministry only the army has these maps. I do not know if this law was meaningful back in the 1930s. But obviously it does not make any sense in the age of Google Maps, with which even the remotest parts of the country can be identified and depicted by, say, enemies. Well, you may ask, and”Even kids use Google Maps why would anyone need a map?and” You are right but for people like me, who walk and travel for days to comprehend the beauties of Turkey, a map on the scale of 1:25,000 is essential. I remember being extremely happy when I received a hand-drawn map of this kind sent by the Izmir Mountaineering Club. I wanted to see the summit of Verandcenik, and I had a map as a guide to do this, so I was happy. But that happiness did not last long. When I tried to use the map on the Verandcenik Plateau and find the path with Hasan, who knew the area better than I, I realized that there were differences between the map and what Hasan would say. The names of the hills, creeks and summits had been changed on the map Hasan did not know these names. He told me, and”You should throw away this map because it will make you lose your way.and” We stayed on track thanks to local herders and other people there was no language barrier because we were Turks. But Polish and British visitors have experienced extreme difficulties because of this problem. I am drawing attention to this issue for two reasons. First, a huge number of tourists who are aware of the natural beauties and attractions of Turkey flow into the country, not just in the summertime, but also in October and November, as well as springtime, to go trekking. These people use 1:25,000 maps in Europe or the US. Currently, maps in book format are used for this purpose. But a firm in Europe or the US will have produced this map and marketed it. Will we arrest tourists who travel holding a and”banned mapand”? Second, the language barrier is a problem. Travel books usually use local names and titles on their maps to help visitors find their way. But these names do not match the names on official maps. It is now time to change the official names of rivers, cities, hills and creeks to the original ones. Maybe it is also necessary to make a new law to abolish the one made in 1930 so that a visitor would not lose his way. It is only naandiumlve to believe that when you change the name of a hill in Ankara, the people will easily embrace the new name. It is now time for Turkey to produce 1:25,000 maps that speak to the people.