Today, reinforced concrete (RC) is the most commonly used construction material in Turkey. It first emerged in Europe in the 1850s and was adopted in a number of Late Ottoman period structures, mostly in Istanbul, during the first two decades of the twentieth century. During the Early Turkish Republic (1923-1938), RC appeared in public-use buildings in Ankara, such as the Ethnographic Museum, which was the first in the new capital to feature RC elements, leading the way for many more structures to come. Despite the fact that Turkish and foreign civil engineers faced a series of economic, social, cultural, political, educational and technical challenges during the transition from masonry and timber construction to RC, its adoption was facilitated by the fact that as a European building technology, it became symbolically important to the new republic. Equated with modernity, RC would allow its capital, Ankara, to construct an identity that would contrast with Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. This transition would also be catalyzed by the rise of a professional class of Turkish civil engineers who deployed RC to reinforce their authority as trained specialists and agents of modernization.