A STORY OF ABANDONMENT; MADEN

The regions now the most underdeveloped and poverty stricken are those which in the past had had the closest links with the metropolis and enjoyed periods of boom. Having once been the biggest producers of goods exported to Europe, or later to the US, and the richest sources of capital, they were abandoned by the metropolis when for this or that reason business sagged.                                                                                                           

 

    Eduardo Galeano

                                                                                                      (Open Veins of Latin America)

Copper deposits which lend its name to Maden District of Elazığ have been known as the oldest and the richest deposits in the world. These copper deposits have been processed by many civilisations throughout history. After 1938, Turkey modernized the techniques of copper processing with the support of Germany, and traded its copper production internationally so that the mines lived its heyday during this period. Population growth and economic boom occurred in parallel with copper production. The company brought electricity, railway, luxury flats, guesthouses, leisure centres and even cinema of the modern world to Maden. Madens copper production had a significant influence in the national economy; it also made the city life attractive for the inhabitants.

In Maden, which has been an attraction centre during the 1960s and 1970s welfare period, the number of workers used to reach about 3000 in the past decades; however, it tended to decrease due to decline in copper reserve in 1980s. People left the district that used to export copper to the world, after the economy collapsed due to decline in reserve and the negative affects of neoliberal policies.

While Maden was a migrant-receiving district with its 20.000 people, and used to have three cinemas, a tennis court, swimming pool and leisure centers, the population decreased to 5.000 people with the decline in reserve. With its abandoned and devastated houses, unclaimed cemeteries and empty streets, it resembles a ghost city where retirees and low-income people live in. “Maden wasn’t like this”  becomes the last expression of every inhabitants story that they keep to themselves and is succeeded by sentences of hope about the city which may be revived with the mines. However, the fact that the young and middle aged people who search for a way to escape from the district, surround Maden with feelings of insecurity and despair. The rich copper deposits that Maden has had for centuries left the district and its people with misery, poverty, oblivion, longing and abandonment.

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