Only One Batman

`There is only one Batman in this world,'' said Batman mayor Huseyin Kalkan.

The mayor of the south eastern Turkish town of Batman says he going to take the producers of the Batman films to court according to Dogan, The Earth Times and Hurriyet (second Hurriyet article). Why? Why because they used the town's name without permission, of course!

To add to the hilarity Kalkan is going to sue Christopher Nolan, the DIRECTOR of Dark Knight, not DC comics or Warner Bros. Studios who of course would be the ones to actually own the rights to Batman, not the director of the movie franchise. Unlike, a character or an image, the name of a local region cannot legally be registered as a brand name.

Another thing to get straight: It's not just this mayor who is at fault for being crazy about rights. A former resident of Batman who now lives in Germany tells this story:
“I named my two restaurants Batman. But six months ago, a team of employees from the production company of the movie Batman made me change the title. Telling them that Batman was the name of my hometown did not change anything.”

"The royalty of the name 'Batman' belongs to us," Huseyin says and he is willing to go to the United States to file his court case if necessary. And I thought only Frank Miller was nuts.

Something about this story rang wrong with me so I dug a touch deeper and found an old article in the Guardian entitled "What's in a name? Too much in Turkey" . A previous mayor of Batman named Abdullah Akin had planned to change some of the city's street names but the provincial governor objected to some of his choices such as Mahatma Gandhi Street, Democracy Avenue and Human Rights Boulevard. A court ruled that 14 of the proposed names couldn't be used because of their association to revolt and resistance. The rational behind this court ruling becomes clear when you know that they also added that streets in Batman must not be given Kurdish names. They want to stifle Kurdish self-determination. If you aren't aware Turkey isn't exactly famous for its human rights record or its relationship with its Kurdish citizens. And Batman is a town with a large Kurdish population. For a quick intro to Kurdish people in Turkey see the Wikipedia article.

This doesn't mean that suing Christopher Nolan isn't stupid. It's just that all the blogs and news briefs I read didn't seem to look any deeper into the situation than just, "Man, those people are stupid."

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