Almost a decade after it unsuccessfully campaigned to sue creators of Batman, the eastern Turkish city bearing the name of the superhero takes another shot at grabbing the spotlight from the Caped Crusader. An online petition calling for the city's borders to be reshaped in the form of Batman already garnered more than 10,000 signatures. Kemal Atakan Kırca, who started the campaign calls for Batman governorate to "start with the border" after stating Batman needs some change.Supporters of the campaign count on tourism revenues for the city which is mostly off the tourist trail. "This is a good campaign. I remember when our airport was included in a list of airports with silly names and it made the headlines. This is a small city but such campaigns make it known in the world," Sinan Bozçalı, a resident, told İhlas News Agency.
However, he acknowledged it can never happen as "it is hard to redraw borders of a city." Burak Cengiz, another Batman resident, says the campaign "makes sense." "There will be more tourists visiting the city," he says. Berk Ata, another local, questions how authorities would "snatch land" from neighboring Mardin and Diyarbakır in order to create a Batman shape. "It is ridiculous," Berfin Saraç, another resident, concludes. Hüseyin Aslan, head of the tourism and hoteliers chamber for southeastern Turkey where Batman is located, agrees. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), he said the campaign would not "contribute at all to the promotion of Batman." "We need a better promotion. People still think Hasankeyf is in (neighboring) Mardin," he says, referring to an ancient town which is probably the most famous sight in Batman.
In 2008, the city's mayor Hüseyin Kalkan attempted to sue Warner Bros and the Batman trilogy's director Christopher Nolan over rights to the name although Batman in Turkey is spelled differently. The lawsuit was rejected as the superhero was created in 1939 while the Turkish city was named Batman in 1950s, reportedly after shortening the name of a nearby mountain.