Batman is both a city and province in Turkey. Sitting on the Batman river, the area in the Southeastern Anatolia region of the country saw an economic boom in the 1950s, when Turkey's largest oil field was discovered outside Batman, which was called Ilul at the time.

But the city of Batman has been thrust into hardship recently. Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek was reminded of this fact when he came back to visit his home town while on the campaign trail. Simsekwas, who left Batman in the 1980s, was greeted with widespread unemployment and unprecedented suicide rates among girls and women.

A thirty year old separatist war with Kurdish militants has killed 40,000 people in the province since Simsekwas left for school in London. Meanwhile, unemployment remains stagnant at 11 percent, and is even higher - at 20 percent - for people between 15-24 years old.

The Kurds were a persecuted minority for a long time in Turkey, but under Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has made positive steps towards equality. The ban outlawing the Kurdish language in schools has been lifted, and Kurbs are now allowed to have a Turkish identity.

"There is no need for violence and terror because everyone is a first-class citizen," Simsekwas told Reuters, referring to the decades old conflict. "There is no longer discrimination."

Prime Minister Erdogan re-appointed Simsekwas as finance minister on July 6, 2011. He has held the position since May 2009.


To see photos and the trailer for "The Dark Knight Rises," the latest and final installment in the Christophe Nolan-Christian Bale Batman movies, click here.