World Bulletin / News Desk
A hill in İstanbul's Eyüp district named after Pierre Loti, a 20th-century İstanbul-loving French writer, might be renamed after İdris-i Bitlisi, an Ottoman statesman.
There is no move to change the name as yet, although Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Bitlis deputy Vahit Kiler is planning on submitting an official application to the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality demanding the name of the hill be changed to İdris-i Bitlisi Hill.
Kiler told the Cihan news agency that the hill used to be named after İdris-i Bitlisi until 1934, when it was put in official records as Pierre Loti Hill.
“As the residents of Bitlis, the change of the name to Pierre Loti makes our blood boil. We will have talks with the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality mayor [Kadir Topbaş] and other authorities to present documents that show the name of the hill and the mansion was İdris-i Bitlisi. After seeing if the name was altered through a decision of the municipal council or an individual, we will submit the necessary applications,” he said.
Kiler explained that İdris-i Bitlisi was one of the most remarkable personalities in the history of the eastern province of Bitlis and of Turkey. “He was praised for his work during the rule of both Bayezid II and Yavuz Sultan Selim,” he said, adding that Bitlisi was the first person to write a book about the history of the Ottoman Empire in Farsi.
While acknowledging that Pierre Loti is a writer known for his love for Turkey, Kiler said it is still “strange” that the hill's name was changed from İdris-i Bitlisi. He added that the graves of Bitlisi and his wife are located near the hill.
In 2007 the local government of Eyüp made a proposal to change the name of the hill to Eyüp Sultan Hill after Eyüp Sultan, a sahaba (companion of the Prophet Muhammad). İstanbul Mayor Topbaş gave the cold shoulder to the proposal and emphasized in a statement that changing the names of places of such historic value would most probably cause aspects of their history to fall into oblivion.