The term Casaba for melons derived from the name of the city, an echo of its 18th-19th century past when it was an important regional trade center and hub, located in the middle of a fertile alluvial plain and with access to outside markets through nearby İzmir.
There are two townships with their own municipalities within the district (Urganlı and Derbent) and 37 villages and nine village dependencies or hamlets. Turgutlu center has an annual population increase rate of 2,41 per cent and the district as a whole 1,8 per cent which places its region right after the central district of the province seat of Manisa. Turgutlu center is at a distance of only 31 km to Manisa, to which it depends administratively, and at a distance of 50 km to the international portuary center of İzmir. Its closeness to these two metropolitan centers both of which have a deep and rooted history marked Turgutlu's destiny since its foundation in the 15th century. Today, the intense industrial activities in the even nearer İzmir district of Kemalpaşa also find considerable repercussions in Turgutlu, which itself has a reputation of being one of the prominent centers of soil industry in Turkey.
There are 44 primary schools and 14 schools providing intermediate education in Turgutlu district, bringing together 1,189 teachers and 28,767 students. There is also a higher professional school, a department of Celal Bayar University, at the district center. The state hospital at Turgutlu center has a bed capacity of 250, and there are also eleven health centers, all corresponding to a health professionals corpus of 370, 135 of whom are doctors.
At fifty-six per cent, Turgutlu district has the highest proportion of agricultural lands across Manisa Province districts in its territory, while the forest lands covering a total area close to twenty thousand hectares, are also of considerable extent.
Reconstructed from scratch as of the 1920s, modern Turgutlu is, in addition to a productive agricultural sector, also an important industrial base structured under a Chamber of Industry founded in 1926. It is home to the production installations of Tukaş, one of the most prominent producers of canned food (principally vegetables and fruits) in Turkey, as well as to BMC (Turkey), the Turkish branch of the motor vehicle giant BMC, active principally in commercial vehicles, trucks and buses. The town's industrial sector as a whole displays as high a degree of dynamism as its agricultural production, with many small- and medium-sized enterprises active in various fields. Also Seramiksan, one of the leading tile manufacturers of Turkey specialized in the production of ceramic wall and floor tiles, glazed and technical porcelain tiles, has their production installations in Turgutlu.
Experimental mining of nickel laterites by using a heap leach process in Mount Çal near Turgutlu started in 2005 by a Turkish subsidiary of European Nickel PLC. The reserves are estimated to be 33 million tons of ore at 1.13% Nickel and 0.08% cobalt content. The planned development of a nickel mine and processing plant could deeply influence the district's economy with a potential to become one of the most important investments in Turkey's Aegean Region.
For more information about Turgutlu http://turgutlulu.com can visit the web site.
The town was an important regional trade center and hub already since the 18th century. It acquired further importance once it became the first terminus of the 93 km. Smyrna Cassaba Railway whose construction was started from İzmir in 1863 and which arrived in Kasaba in 1866. This railway was the third started within the territory of the Ottoman Empire at the time and the first finished within the present-day territory of Turkey.
Instead of being laid along the direct route eastwards from İzmir to Turgutlu, about fifty kilometers in length, the line built drew a wide arc advancing first to the north-west from İzmir, through its Karşıyaka suburb to whose foundation it contributed greatly, and curves eastwards only from Menemen on, crossing the former sanjak and the present-day province center of Manisa to join Turgutlu from the north. Belkahve Pass between Mount Nif and Mount Sipylus on the direct road from İzmir and Turgutlu must have been judged too difficult for a track at the time. This railway was later extended further eastwards reaching a total length exceeding seven hundred kilometers but the operating company preserved the name Smyrna Cassaba. The first concession under the name was granted to a locally based English entrepreneur named Edward Price, who founded the company and built the line, and sold it in 1893 to the Franco-Belgian group Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, which extended it. The line was nationalized in 1934 by the young Republic of Turkey in the frame of a general move started in the 1920s regarding Turkey's railways.
The town was made into a kaza (district center) in 1868. During the final years of the Ottoman Empire, Kasaba was already a large town whose population well exceeded ten thousand people. During the 1910s, Kasaba was recorded by sources such as G. Sotiriadis (1918) and S. Anagiostopoulou (1997) as having a Greek population averaging at around one sixth of the total, between 3500 and 6000, in a subdistrict aggregate of thirty-five thousand and a center town population of around fourteen thousand.
Turgutlu remained under Greek occupation between 29 May 1919 and 7 September 1922. The most bitter blow suffered by the town has been the fire started by the retreating Greek army on 5 September 1922, and which has lasted for two whole days, destroying 6127 buildings in a total of 6328, the historic Pasha Mosque, and the 20000 manuscript books preserved in the town library, as well as at the very least a thousand human lives (based on the corpses that could be counted). The survival of another historical monument, the Hacı Zeynel Mosque and of the surrounding small agglomeration is locally still interpreted as divine intervention. According to a number of sources, the retreating Greek army carried out a scorched-earth policy while fleeing from Anatolia during the final phase of the war. According to a report of the Consul Park 90% of the buildings of the town were destroyed, as result of organized operations accompanied by several atrocities.
Gen. Hilmi Özkök, the former (till August 2006) Chief of Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces is from Turgutlu.
Hüsnü Sönmezer, writer of various litruture books including poetry books books; "Bir Büyük Kentti Düşlerindeki" and "Al Sevdani Gönlümden" is born and worked over 20 years in ‘Turgutlu’ / ‘Kasaba’ (aka ‘Cassaba’ or ‘Casaba’'’). Currently he lives in Izmir and sample of some of his poems can be found in here
Prof. Hakki Önel, former Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at Yildiz Technical University (YTU) in Istanbul was born in ‘Turgutlu’ / ‘Kasaba’ (aka ‘Cassaba’ or ‘Casaba’'’). He is the main architect of various municipal buildings & urban planning projects in Turgutlu. He has taught in YTU over 30 years and he rests in peace in Turgutlu as of 10 November 2013.
Dr. Bilge Sonmezer, whose academic PhD study is the first research which focuses on the comparasion of Energy Industry and Real Estate Industry project management, hwas graduated from Turgutlu Ulku Ilkokulu (primary school) in 1983. He was the Senior Project Manager for Siberia Project in Dubai World Island Resort with many other infamous projects.
Jewish composer Alberto Hemsi (1898 - 1975), famous mostly for his arrangements of Ladino folk songs and Sephardi Jeish music, was born 1898 in ‘Turgutlu’ / ‘Kasaba’ (aka ‘Cassaba’ or ‘Casaba’'’).