Culture and history info
The Batman Province contains the strategic Tigris river with fertile lands by its sides, as well as rocky hills with numerous caves providing a natural shelter. Therefore, it was inhabited from prehistoric times, likely from the Neolithic (Paleolithic) period, according to archeological evidence. First documented evidence of settlements in the province dates back to 7th century BC. An artificial "island" was created in this marshy area. It was named Elekhan, and had an independent status for 194 years from 546 BC till the invasion of Alexander the Great in 352 BC. The Batman Province was a religious center in the 4th–6th centuries AD and a part of the Byzantine Empire. In the 11th–12th centuries it was ruled by the Great Seljuq Empire and Artuqids, a part of which was based in the province, in the city of Hasankeyf. The city is a cultural center of the Batman Province and as such was declared as a natural conservation area in 1981.
Around 4th–6th centuries AD the province became an outpost of the Silk Road. It was populated by Assyrian (Syriac) Christians and also had a significant presence of Pontic Greeks, Baghdadi Jews and Armenians, who lived in the region from the 3rd millennium BC to the late 19th century. Tigranakert, the ancient capital of the ancient Kingdom of Armenia founded in the 1st century BC, was possibly located at Silvan in the Batman Province. It was built by King Tigran the Great around 95–55 BC and named in his honor.
Significant changes in the language and management of the province were brought in 1515 by Mahmoud Pasha Elekhani. It is believed that a variant of his name, Elah, was transformed into Iluh and gave the old name to Batman city.
Development of oil fields resulted in relocation of Turkish people into a mostly Kurd-populated Batman Province. This brought ethnic conflicts which escalated in 1990s. More than 180 civilians were killed in the Batman city area by unidentified gunmen between 1992 and 1993.The province became a stronghold of Turkish Hezbollah and hosted its camp where the militants received political and military training.
Recent individual incidents include the following: 1 Turkish soldier was killed and 2 wounded during clashes in the province on 15 April 2010.In the Siirt Province 2 PKK militants were killed and 3 soldiers wounded. One Turkish soldier was killed and 2 injured after a PKK attack on a Turkish military outpost on 7 July 2010. Four Kurdish civilians were killed on 1 August 2010 after their vehicle struck a roadside bomb. Later on 9 August 2010 5 PKK militants were killed in clashes with the Turkish military.