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TURKEY – STATISTICAL MINING ATLAS: معدن احصائياتي اطلاسي [Maden Ihsaiyati Atlasi / Mining Atlas of Turkey].




Extremely Rare – a highly sophisticated statistical mining and mineralogy atlas of the newly-founded Republic of Turkey, one of the earliest ‘Kemalist’ graphic scientific publications, and the first advanced thematic atlas ever produced in the Turkic world, printed in Ottoman Script shortly before that writing system was retired.

1 in stock


Oblong Small Folio (26 x 38.5 cm / 10 x 15 inches): Collation Complete – 36 maps (35 numbered, 1 unnumbered) each in bi-chrome off-set printing, bound in original salmon-coloured printed wrappers (Good, all maps generally clean and bright, just a few light marginal stains; covers with some reinstated loss at corners and some small closed tears).



This extremely rare and surprising statistical mining atlas is one of the most impressive works of Turkish thematic cartography, perfectly embodying the modernist, scientific ethic of the Kemalist regime that established the new Republic of Turkey in 1923, mere months before the present work was issued.  The atlas was printed in Ankara for the Turkish Ministry of Trade, which oversaw the country’s mines and quarries, and is the result of an unprecedentedly thorough and accurate scientific assessment of the nation’s abundant mineralogical wealth, done in the effort to support President Kemal Mustafa Atatürk’s ambitions national economic development programme.  Significantly, the present work is the first advanced thematic atlas ever created in the Turkic world.


The atlas is comprised of 36 sophisticated thematic maps, each based on the same template of a black skeleton map of the republic, divided into its provinces, upon which is over-printed (in colour) the particular thematic information that distinguishes each map.  The maps illustrate a variety of themes including the distribution of particular minerals; the locations of mines and quarries; transportation and infrastructure; and the locations of factories and markets.  Many of the plates are augmented by graphs that appear below the main map.  In spite of the rudimentary nature of their off-set printing, executed in immediate post-war Ankara, the maps are impressively innovative and sophisticated thematic works.  In sum, the atlas presents a valuable insight into Turkey’s economy on the eve of its Kemalist restructuring, and into the great value that the new regime placed upon science and cartography.


The atlas exclusively employs Ottoman Turkish script and is dated by the Ottoman Rumi Calendar (1340, roughly equivalent to the Gregorian year 1924).  In 1927, Atatürk would replace the Ottoman script with the Latin Alphabet, and the Rumi with the Gregorian calendar, as part of his larger programme of Western-style modernizing reforms.


Historical Context: The New Republic of Turkey & Kemalism


The present atlas is one of the earliest and most impressive graphic scientific publications of the new ‘Kemalist’ regime that ruled Turkey from the early 1920s onwards.  It was published only a matter months after the Turkish National Movement won the Turkish War of Independence (1919-23) and declared the foundation of the Republic of Turkey (October 29, 1923), a state that was to be reformed on radically modern, secular lines.


Science played a major role in the late Ottoman Empire, the massive, pan-national entity that the Republic of Turkey supplanted in Anatolia and Eastern Rumelia.  However, the late Ottoman production of thematic cartography was quite limited and tended to be linked to episodic commercial projects or noble patronage, and often appeared within the context of value-laden narrative.


The new ‘Kemalist’ regime, so named for Mustafa Kemal ‘Atatürk’ (1881 1938), the Turkish National Movement’s legendary leader and the founding president of the Turkish Republic, ushered in a radical state ideology that had profound ramifications for science and cartography.  Kemalism was founded upon six fundamental pillars, or the ‘Six Arrows’: Republicanism; Populism; Nationalism; Secularism; Statism and Reformism.  In short Atatürk sought to replace the ancient pan-national, religious and inefficient old Ottoman state with a modern, Westernized nation focused upon the popular aspirations of the Turkish people.  The new state was to foster progress through education and economic development, backed by modern science and technology.


In 1924, Atatürk was hailed as hero by the vast majority of his people.  However, he faced many forbidding challenges.  The late war, which was both civil (Nationalists vs. Royalists) and a multi-fronted fight against external enemies (France, Britain, Greece, Armenia, and various Arabic entities) had caused immense physical destruction to the country and great dislocation to Turkey’s workforce, resulting in high unemployment.  The Ottoman Empire had also left the prime industrial entities with inherent inefficiencies that made them ill-suited to the Kemalist vision.  Atatürk knew that he had to rapidly and radically reform and jump-start the national economy, otherwise popular support for his regime, and his radical agenda, would crumble.


Turkey was fortunate to possess an excellent location for global trade and was rich in natural and human resources.  The new regime had to quickly take stock of both the readily exploitable and the latent potential of these resources in order to guide the new state enterprises and private consortiums that were to fuel the national economy.  


Mining, metal refining and quarries were seen as especially important to the new Turkish economy.  Anatolia lies along the geologically productive Alpine-Himalayan tectonic belt, and the region is home to 50 different metals and minerals that are commercially viable for exploitation; possesses 2.5% of the World’s industrial raw material; 1% of its coal and 0.4% of its metallic mineral reserves (of which copper, gold, nickel and zinc were most important).   Anatolia was also long a world leader in the production of natural stone, and, in particular, is the largest global source of marble. 


This all being said, the Turkish state had to allocate the appropriate capital, human resources and infrastructure to efficiently exploit the nation’s mineral wealth.  The mines and quarries could provide hundreds of thousands of jobs, while the resulting raw materials could fuel factories, infrastructure development and exports (thus yielding foreign exchange).


Kemalist officials commenced their scientific appraisal of Turkey’s mineral resources while the War of Independence was still ongoing.  The Nationalists controlled most of the heart of Anatolia (containing the best mining areas) from early on in the conflict, and the wartime priorities for these investigations concentrated on the acquisition of war materials. 


As soon as the war ended, in May 1923, Atatürk placed oversight of Turkey’s mines and quarries under the auspices of the incipient Ministry of Trade.  The Ministry duly charged the nation’s best engineers and geologists to gather the most authoritative information and to conduct field research of unprecedented scope and thoroughness, resulting in an accurate assessment of the Turkey’s mining wealth, and importantly, how these resources could best be exploited.


The emphasis was on creating assessments based upon hard empirical data, as opposed to the value-landed assumptions and pseudo-science that often crept into late Ottoman projects.  This new ethic was one of the triumphs of the early Kemalist era, during which Turkey experienced rapid modernization and economic growth, so redeeming Atatürk’s vision.


The present atlas was the result of the expeditious, yet careful, work of Atatürk’s scientists, and contains an unprecedented wealth of accurate and highly useful information on Turkey’s natural resources and their efficient exploitation, all rendered as sophisticated thematic maps. Such an atlas would have been considered highly impressive in any Western industrialized state, but is here all the more amazing for its publication in Ankara (the new Turkish capital) only a matter of months after the end of the war. 


The present atlas would have been considered immensely useful to Turkish government officials, corporate leaders, and those who managed infrastructure and trade.  It set the gold standard for thematic cartography in Turkey that would develop in the coming decades.


A Note of Rarity


The present atlas is extremely rare.  To our knowledge, an example has not appeared on the market outside of Turkey during the last generation.  Online records of sales and institutional holdings within Turkey are not reliably available; however, a well placed-Istanbul collector, with 40 years of active experience, has informed us that he has never seen a complete example of the atlas on the market.  An incomplete example (with only 26 maps) appeared in a Turkish auction in 2014.  We can trace only 2 institutional examples of the atlas in the United States, at the Library of Congress and the University of Chicago Library.


References: Library of Congress: G2211.H1 M3 1924; OCLC: 964046270.

Additional information


Place and Year