1st Istanbul International Geography Congress Proceedings Book
National and international sister city relationships of İstanbul: determinative factors and characteristics of spatial distributionArda Bay, Vedat Çalışkan
Sister city practices, comprising a municipality’s reciprocal relations, including collaborations and partnership initiatives, with another domestic or foreign municipality, provide a basis for the development of cultural and economic relations. Turkey has made significant progress in this field, with 3042 sister cities on a national and international scale. İstanbul’s municipalities, both the metropolitan as a whole and 39 district municipalities, have a remarkable position, qualitatively and quantitatively, with 553 national and international sister cities. This study examines İstanbul’s sister city relationship networks, evaluating the characteristics of the spatial distribution of sister cities on national and international scales and indicating the determinative factors for building sister city relations. To accomplish this, a 45-question survey was sent via email and postal mail to representatives of the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality and 39 district municipalities; in all, 23 municipalities responded. The responses were analyzed using SPSS, and tables, graphics, and maps were prepared using the data. The research findings indicated that the factors affecting the choice of İstanbul municipalities for national and international sister cities were historical and cultural ties and sharing of technology, information, and experience. Certain patterns were observed in the spatial distribution characteristics of both national and international sister city connections. The connections with Balkan countries were especially interesting for international sister city relations, and the Black Sea, Eastern Anatolian, and Southeastern Anatolian municipalities had a significantly high number of national sister cities.