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İzmir

İZMIR

Third largest city in Turkey and seaport on the Aegean Sea.

İzmir (formerly known in English as Smyrna) is situated at the head of a long bay. With mountains in the Aegean region of western Anatolia stretching east to west, the river valleys from the Anatolian plateau leading to the Aegean Sea allow easy communication with a considerable hinterland. Due to these advantages, the city has been an important trading center over a long period of time: Its origins go back to the third millennium b.c.e., and it maintained its prominence during Hittite, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine domination. During the fourteenth century, İzmir was held by the Turkish Aydin Beyliği (emi-rate), and when Aydinlike other Anatolian Turkish emirateswas incorporated into the rising Ottoman state around 1400, İzmir became an Ottoman city.

During the early nineteenth century, İzmir's European trade was disrupted first by the Napoleonic Wars and then, in the 1820s, by the war of Greek independence. However, beginning in the 1830s, industrializing Europe's demand for Anatolian raw cotton and wool soon restored trade. Dried fruits (raisins and figs), tobacco, olive oil, and animal hides were also exported at unprecedented levels. Its population increased considerably, as the city attracted not only foreigners but also an influx of population from both Anatolia and the Aegean islands. The first railroad to be built in Anatolia was laid between İzmir and Aydin to facilitate the exports of its rich hinterland. Just before World War I, İzmir and its vicinity had a total population of
210,000, of which 100,000 were Muslims, 74,000 Greeks, 10,000 Armenians, 24,000 Jews, and 2,000 Europeans.

After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, the victorious allies allowed Greek occupation of the city and its hinterland. But Greek occupation sparked a nascent Anatolian resistance, and the Turkish war of independence ended with the recapture of İzmir in September 1922. The city was devastated by a huge conflagration as the Greek forces and population withdrew to the Aegean; its burgeoning industry was wrecked and its foreign trade sharply declined. The new Turkish Republic, however, was determined to restore İzmir's prominent commercial role and held its first national congress there in 1923 to set economic policy. Although İzmir became a much more Turkish city than it had been in Ottoman times, Muslims immigrating from Crete, the Aegean islands, and Salonika replaced the Greek population and helped preserve a relatively cosmopolitan atmosphere; the city quickly regained its historic role as Turkey's leading exporter and it was second only to Istanbul in imports.

Since the 1950s, İzmir has experienced a significant degree of industrialization, establishing strong automotive and food processing sectors and modernizing its traditional textile production. In 2002, it produced 13.5 percent of Turkey's gross domestic product and employed 9.7 percent of the country's total labor force. İzmir has grown faster than any other Turkish city except Istanbul; its population reached 3,370,866 in 2000. In addition to its commercial importance, İzmir serves as the focus of a hinterland rich in classical and Turkish cultural heritage. Among the nearby sites of importance are Ephesus, Pergamum, and Sardis.

see also aegean sea; anatolia; ottoman empire.


Bibliography


Güvenç, Bozkurt, ed. Social Change in Izmir: A Collection of Five Papers. Ankara: Social Science Association, 1975.

Kasaba, Reşat. "İzmir." Review: Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations XVI, no. 4 (Fall 1993).

Taylor Saçlioğlu, Virginia. Three Ages of İzmir: Palimpsest of Cultures. İstanbul: Yapi Kredi Yayinlari, 1993.

Turkish Ministry of Culture. Information available at <http://www.kultur.gov.tr/portal/default_en.asp?belgeno=2069>.

i. metin kunt
update by burÇak keskin-kozat

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Izmir

Izmir (Ĭzmīr´), formerly Smyrna (smûr´nə), city (1990 pop. 1,762,849), capital of Izmir prov., W Turkey, on the Gulf of Izmir, an arm of the Aegean Sea. The largest Turkish seaport after İstanbul, its exports include cotton, tobacco, vegetables, manufactures, and carpets. It is also an important commercial and industrial center, whose manufactures include processed food, textiles, tobacco, cement, petrochemicals, and manufactured goods. Tourism is increasingly important. It is a road and rail transportation center, and an annual trade fair is held there. The Aegean Univ. and several museums are there, and Izmir was probably the birthplace of the poet Homer. Izmir prov. is rich in mineral resources.

The city was settled during the Bronze Age (c.3000 BC). It was colonized (c.1000 BC) by Ionians and was destroyed (627 BC) by the Lydians. Rebuilt on a different site in the early 4th cent. BC by Antigonus I, it was enlarged and beautified by Lysimachus, and became one of the largest and most prosperous cities of Asia Minor. Its wealth and splendor increased under Roman rule. The city had a sizable Jewish colony, was an early center of Christianity, and was one of the Seven Churches in Asia (Rev. 2–8).

Pillaged by the Arabs in the 7th cent., it fell to the Seljuk Turks in the 11th cent., was recaptured for Byzantium by Emperor Alexius I during the First Crusade, and formed part of the empire of Nicaea (see Nicaea, empire of) from 1204 to 1261, when the Byzantine Empire was restored. Also in 1261 the Genoese obtained trading privileges there, which they retained until the city fell (c.1329) to the Seljuk Turks. The Knights Hospitalers captured the city in 1344, restored Genoese privileges, and held the city until 1402, when it was captured and sacked by Timur. The Mongols were succeeded in 1424 by the Ottoman Turks. A Greek Orthodox archiepiscopal see, the city retained a large Greek population and remained a center of Greek culture and the chief Mediterranean port of Asia Minor.

After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the city was occupied (1919) by Greek forces. The Treaty of Sèvres (1920) assigned Izmir and its hinterland to temporary Greek administration, but fighting soon erupted between Greek and Turkish forces. Izmir fell to the Turks in Sept., 1922, and a few days later was destroyed by fire. Thousands of non-Muslims were killed by Turkish troops and thousands of Greek civilian refugees fled the city. The Treaty of Lausanne (1923) restored Izmir to Turkey. A separate convention between Greece and Turkey provided for the exchange of their minorities, which was carried out under League of Nations supervision, and the population of Izmir became predominately Turkish. The city suffered greatly from severe earthquakes in 1928 and 1939. It is now a NATO command center for SE Europe.

See G. Milton, Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922 (2008).

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Izmir

Izmir (formerly Smyrna) City and seaport on the Gulf of Izmir, w Turkey. It was settled by Greeks at the beginning of the 1st millennium bc. Izmir was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1424–1919, when it was assigned to Greece. It passed to Turkey under the Treaty of Lausanne (1923). Industries: tourism, tobacco, silk, carpets, cotton and woollen textiles, petrochemicals, foodstuffs, cement. Pop. (1997) 2,061,473.

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Izmir

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