The First Petroleum Geologists in Turkey

Cevat Eyüp Taşman RC 1910 and Mehlika Taşman Ribnikar ACG 35 were instrumental in developing Turkey’s petroleum industry.

Cevat Eyüp Taşman was a pioneer in every sense of the word. He aimed to create a company to process Turkey’s petroleum, thereby aiding the industrial revolution in Turkey. During his education at RC, Taşman earned the appreciation of his teachers, particularly that of Tevfik Fikret. He was one of four students chosen by the government to pursue higher education in the US, studying mining engineering at Columbia University. In 1929, the Turkish government asked him to conduct a geological study to see if petroleum could be found. He advised them that mining and processing petroleum is a highly costly effort which requires that a company oversee it.

In 1933, he accepted the Turkish government’s invitation to head the newly founded Petroleum Search and Management Administration and came back to live in Turkey. Taşman and his team started searching for oil all over Turkey, until finally, in Raman, Batman, the team struck oil. It was around this time that he met Mehlika Taşman Ribnikar, who initially got involved with his work by translating geology reports. Her deepening interest in the field led her to study it in the US. Upon her return, she married Cevat Eyüp Taşman and went on to become the first female geologist in Turkey.

Cevat Eyüp Taşman held various positions in the government to further the development of oil drilling and processing in Turkey until his death. After Cevat Eyüp passed away, Mehlika Taşman Ribnikar established her own laboratory and continued their work.

Published January 2024

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