views updated May 11 2018


Capital of Ankara province and of the Republic of Turkey.

Ankara (formerly Angora) originally was a Hittite settlement and remained a provincial city throughout its history, except when it was made capital of the Celtic kingdom of Galatia (284 b.c.e.17 c.e.). Subsequently, Romans, Persians, Byzantines, Seljuk Turks, and Crusaders conquered the city. The Ottoman Turks conquered it in 1360 and since then Ankara has been a Turkish city. However, it remained a minor provincial center of the Ottoman Empire until the late nineteenth century, when it received a spur of the Berlin-Baghdad Railway. In December 1919, after the Ottoman defeat in World War I, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk chose Ankara as headquarters of the nationalist resistance because of its transportation links with the capital, Istanbul, which was occupied by foreign forces. Subsequently, the new Turkish Grand National Assembly met in Ankara (1920) and voted to move the national capital there in 1923.

The modern city initially was built between the medieval citadel and the railroad station to its west. In 1932, architects began laying out a new city based on a plan by Austrian architect Hermann Jansen. The plan provided only for the upper and middle classes, not for the masses of villagers who came to Ankara to become tradesmen and artisans. To avoid the authorities, the migrants built houses, known as gecekondu, by night, which now ring the planned city and contain the majority of Ankara's inhabitants. The plan envisioned a population of 335,000 by 1985; in that year the population had reached 2,300,000, By 2000, Ankara's population was 3,540,522.

Ankara is the economic and transport center of Anatolia. Railroads were extended eastward to Kayseri, Sivas, Erzurum, and Diyarbakir in the 1920s and 1930s, and a network of paved roads connecting Ankara to all parts of the interior was built in the 1950s. The airport at Esenboğa has become the hub of Turkey's domestic air network. The government and the military are Ankara's major employers. Most service employment is directly related to government (education, legal services, support of the foreign community) or to the needs of running the metropolis (transportation, construction, and general services). Industry also is concentrated in the government sector (armaments, official publishing). The burgeoning of ministerial bureaucracies has fueled the city's rapid growth, which has led to problems other than gecekondu slums. These include serious air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels; severe traffic congestion; and respiratory ailments and other health conditions aggravated by the degraded urban environment.

see also anatolia; atatÜrk, mustafa kemal; berlinbaghdad railway; gecekondu.


Ahmad, Feroz. The Making of Modern Turkey. New York; London: Routledge, 1993.

John R. Clark

Updated by Eric Hooglund


views updated May 18 2018


ANKARA (Turk. Engürü , Rom. Ancyra , med. Angora ), capital of the Republic of Turkey since 1923. A trading center on the trade route to Persia and the Far East, it was a way station for Jewish merchants. A few settled there permanently. After the expulsion from Spain and Portugal, the number of Jewish settlers increased. Exiles in large numbers arrived in Ankara, and on their initiative two organized communities (Spanish and Portuguese), which also included the city's previous Jewish inhabitants, were established. The two communities united in the mid-16th century. They numbered 231 Jews in the 1520s and 747 in the 1570s. The Jews of Ankara engaged in the silk trade, ordering wares from Persia and selling them throughout Turkey, and some merchants became wealthy. The rabbis of Safed decided that the rabbis in Ankara could not be depended on in profound matters of halakhah requiring detailed knowledge, but Moses de Boton and David ha-Kohen, who were consulted by several communities in the vicinity, were exceptions. The community dwindled as a result of the plague of 1672. In the 18th century, when prosperity returned, a permanent religious court which also supervised communal arrangements was established; business expanded and commercial ties were formed between Ankara and other commercial towns. In the 19th century there were no decisive changes in the economic situation, but the intellectual level of the community declined, and many Jews left the town. Migration after World War ii reduced the Jewish population from 1,500 to 800. There was a certain subsequent increase and in 1968 it numbered 1,000, but in 2005 it was estimated that only 700–800 Jews live there.


A. Galanté, Histoire des Juifs d'Anatolie, 2 (1939), 275 ff.; idem, Appendice à l'Histoire des Juifs d'Anatolie (1948), 25–29. add. bibliography: A. Galanté, "Les Juifs d'Ankara," in: Hamenora, 11 (Oct.–Dec. 1933), 240–48; B.L. Bahar, "Tarihde Ankara Yahudileri," in: Salom (Mar. 4–July 22, 1964), 854–74; S.J. Shaw, The Jews of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic (1991), index; F. Ilter, "Ankara'nin eski kent dokesunda Yahudi mahallesi ve sinagog" in: Belleten, 60 (Dec. 1966), 734–43; B.L. Bahar, Efsaneden tarihe Ankara Yahudileri (2003).


views updated Jun 11 2018

Ankara Capital of Turkey, at the confluence of the Cubuk and Ankara rivers. In ancient times it was known as Ancyra, and was an important commercial centre as early as the 8th century bc. It was a Roman provincial capital and flourished under Augustus. Tamerlane took the city in 1402. In the late 19th century it declined in importance, until Kemal Atatürk set up a provisional government here in 1920. It replaced Istanbul as the capital in 1923, changing its name to Ankara in 1930. It is noted for its angora wool (a mixture of sheep's wool and rabbit hair) and mohair. Pop. (1997) 3,693,390.