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Namdi Alexander

BUYING ISTANBUL NAMDI ALEXANDER University of Minnesota Mentor: Ozayr Saloojee 2010 UROP Project

A personal exploration of Istanbul’s past, present, and future, using the rituals of commerce as the filter through which to interpret the city.

Contact Information:

This book is dedicated to my son, Elijah.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS To Kate Maple, for her abundance of help throughout this project, and my academic career in general. To Ozayr Saloojee, for the amazing adventure in Istanbul that would be the catalyst for this book, and for his insight and suggestions during the book’s design. Tesekkur ederim! To Zeeshan Dawood, Steven Grootaert, Chen Hu, and Laurie McGinley, for generously contributing their photographs for this project. To Sheryl Mauck, for being an assiduous proofreader and editor. To Hannah Quaid, for brainstorming with me, providing photographs, and proofreading and editing. This project would not be what it is if not for her input and creativity. To my mom, Judy Alexander, for her keen editorial eye, and for teaching me to take pride in everything I do. And to the rest of my fellow Istanbul travelers, I feel fortunate to have shared that experience with all of you. Good job guys! N. Alexander 2011


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LANDMARKS The Blue Mosque: 1609 - 1617 Architect: Sedefhar Mehmet Aga

Topkapi Palace: began 1459 Commissioned by: Sultan Mehmed II

Hagia Sophia: 537AD (current version)






Commissioned by: Emperor Justinian

The Grand Bazaar: 1455 Commissioned by: Sultan Mehmed II

İstiklâl Caddesi: Early 19th Century Developed during Ottoman reign

The Galata Tower: 1348 Built by Genoese Colonists

The Galata Bridge: 1994 (current version) Built by: SFTA (Sezai Turkes & Feyzi Akkaya)

Monument of Republic: 1928 Sculptor: Pietro Canonica

Kanyon Shopping Mall: 2006


Architects: Tabanlioglu Architects & The Jerde Partnership


The Blue Mosque bubbles up from its foundation like a geological phenomenon. Minarets like geysers erupt to the heavens, while windows and domes cascade down upon themselves back to earth. There is something fluid about this stone. The repetition of arches in the courtyard, like waves surrounding you. There is something vulnerable about this spectacular behemoth. Sitting in the shadow of its older sibling, the Byzantine masterpiece Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque bravely stands its ground; ancient rivals, east versus west, trapped in an endless staring contest. Perhaps it is within this rivalry the identity of Istanbul can be found; these opposed monuments, this fractured city straddling two continents, this eastern culture vying for western acceptance.



Beyond the courtyard of the Blue Mosque, hard faced men sell guide books and maps. Older women, heads covered with the traditional Muslim hijab, roam the crowds holding up bottles of water for sale. Gift shops line the street selling scarves, bags, post cards, t-shirts. Istanbul is a city of opportunity founded on commerce. For over a millennia it would be the epicenter of wealth and power, the second capital of the civilized world, a bridge between east and west. Its location along the Bosporus Strait made it an ideal trading post, a central hub where men could come to sell their wares: oriental rugs, exotic candies, spices, silks, fish.1

7 Photo: Zeeshan Dawood

Today this economic model is still intact, revitalized in recent years by the boom in tourism. In 2008, twenty-five million tourist brought twentytwo billion dollars into the Turkish economy.2 Throughout the country, tourists are spending their money at a smaller, more personal scale; one rug, box of candies, or pair of AtatĂźrk earrings at a time.

A feeding frenzy is taking place. Hungry merchants use any tactic they can to charm, cajole, and manipulate the money out of foreign hands. In Istanbul, shopping is a ritual, a choreographed routine with both the seller and buyer playing their parts as they barter back and forth over the final cost. Within these retail rituals, the entirety of this ancient city can be discerned. Its rich and exotic past can be found in the maze-like halls of the Grand Bazaar. Its contemporary western influence, inscribed in neon over the fast food restaurants along İstiklâl Caddesi. And in the ultra modern shopping center, Kanyon, Istanbul tells us where it wants to go.




The evening call to prayer has just rang out across Sultanahmet, the old section of Istanbul. As I stand at the foot of the stairs leading up to the courtyard of the Blue Mosque, a small framed man wearing a light grey suit approaches me. He tells me prayer is soon starting and I should wait to enter the mosque. He asks where I’m from but hardly waits for a response before he begins telling me the history of the massive structure before us. I assume he’s some sort of tour guide; he seems to know what he’s talking about. He tells me the actual name for the Blue Mosque is Sultan Ahmet Cami, and that it was commissioned by Sultan Ahmed in 1609 and completed in 1617.3 The architect, Sedefhar Mehmet Aga, had been a pupil of the prolific Ottoman architect, Sinan, who, as chief architect to the Sultan, had designed or oversaw the construction of more than 360 buildings and bridges in and around Istanbul.4 The small Turkish man in the grey suit continues to tell me the history of the Blue Mosque as he leads me up the stairs and through the gateway into the courtyard. He pauses briefly as we cross the threshold to let me take in the grand facade.

He tells me the Blue Mosque sits on the site of what was once the Royal Byzantine Palace commissioned by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in 330AD.5 I stop in the shadow of one of the towering minarets and shield my eyes to look up at the sparkling golden spires rising from the many domes and half domes that form the bulking roof. He asks me what I think; I tell him it’s magnificent.

Evening prayer is still taking place. The small Turkish man suggests we walk around back to see the bazaar behind the mosque. He tells me it used to be the royal horse stables; says maybe we could stop by his shop on the way. He has a carpet shop, he and his cousin, a beautiful shop that is not far.

He leads me through a large tunnel along the side of the mosque, pausing momentarily to point out a small protruding edge on the ground where the tunnel meets the adjacent pathway, he tells me to watch my step, many people trip here. I realize now the small Turkish man in the light grey suit is not simply a kindly tour guide sharing his knowledge with a foreign traveler; he is a salesman, and a good one. I set out this evening to see the Blue Mosque and had barely entered the courtyard before I found myself walking away from it. I tell the small man in the grey suit I’m not interested in buying a rug, he insists I come anyway, see the shop, have some tea, had I tried Turkish tea yet? No? His cousin will make us some apple tea and we will sit and talk, where was I from again?

This is Istanbul.

It’s exploitive and arguably even sacrilegious using the Blue Mosque as your hook, as a way to reel in a potential sale, but there is a saying here in Istanbul: You call it ancient, we call it still standing. The mosques, bazaars, palaces–the history of the city in general–are all simply means to an end. For many they provide basic survival, a way to put bread on the table. For others it is a cash cow, an opportunity to top off the new Range Rover.

Istanbul is a city of extremes and during our walk to the carpet shop the entire range is on display. The small Turkish man in the light grey suit leads me down a staircase and through a crowded outdoor cafe where a mix of well dressed tourists and locals sit drinking tea and smoking nargile, a traditional Turkish water pipe with flavored tobacco. A pair of musicians play traditional Turkish music on a small stage. Large clouds of smoke erupt through parted lips to be trapped under a patchwork of maroon canopies

Photo: Laurie McGinley

Adjacent to the cafe a row of shops sell everything from fake designer sunglasses and purses, to Turkish lamps and belly dancer outfits. We pass a shop selling backgammon boards; his brother’s shop. These are the best boards in Istanbul he assures me, high quality inlaid wood, hand crafted, not those cheap factory-made ones you find in the Grand Bazaar!

Beyond the shops we head up a set of stairs where small tin pans with conical chimneys sit heating coals for the nargiles. Back on street level we cut across a busy intersection, deftly making our way between sleek black Audis and Mercedes, interspersed with bright orange taxis. Both the man in the grey suit and the drivers seem unaware of the consequences of a two thousand pound machine slamming into 180 lbs of flesh and bone.

Photo: Chen Hu

Safely across, he leads me quickly past a gypsy woman sitting on the corner with a small child draped across her lap. She looks me in the eye, touches her fingers to her lips and repeats, please, please, her raspy voice barely audible. He hurries us past, ignoring her, as if he hopes I won’t notice.

As we walk he continues expounding the history of his native city. He tells me Greek tradesmen and fishermen were the first to settle in Istanbul 2,600 years ago.6 These early settlements were established near what is today considered Uskundar on the Asian side of the city.

According to legend, Byzas of Megara had been instructed by the Delphic Oracle in 657BC to found a second city “opposite the land of the blind.”7 Following the Oracle’s instructions, Byzas founded Byzantium across from the early settlers who had been “blind” to the superior location at the only opening to the black sea.8 He asks if I’ve been to see Topkapi Palace yet. I have. He tells me long ago it had been the site of the Byzantine Acropolis with many baths, theaters, and temples to Zeus and Apollo and all those other pagan Gods.9

Photos: Hannah Quaid

Photo: Hannah Quaid

He continues talking as we round another corner. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll be able to find my way back through this labyrinth of winding narrow streets. Everything is squished together here. The buildings and shops crowd upon one another like an angry mob; the cobblestone street bravely struggling to keep them apart. There is no periphery here, no horizon line to locate oneself. You are where you are in Istanbul; where you’ve been and where you’re going are impossible to see.

Photo: Chen Hu

The buildings encroaching upon each other’s personal space are colorful, but oddly colorful; washed out greens and pinks, pale yellows and chalky blues, like a box of crayons faded by the sun.

We’re almost there, the small grey suited man promises, it’s just up ahead. Perhaps to distract me he asks if I was aware Istanbul was once Constantinople. Byzantium had grown and prospered for hundreds of years until 330 AD when Constantine arrived from Rome to establish the new seat of the Roman Empire. Constantine christened his imperial city, New Rome, but it would eventually be known as Constantinople.10 Removed from the pagan aristocracy of Rome, Constantinople would be a Christian city with all pagan celebrations and rites outlawed.11

He tells me about the city’s great expansion as the second capital of the civilized world. The fortification walls, public squares, and imperial forums; the Great Palace adjacent to the Hippodrome. He asks if I had noticed the tall obelisks across from the Blue Mosque. I had. That was where the Hippodrome had once stood. Chariot races, civic protests, and riots all took place in that arena where up to 80,000 spectators could sit and be entertained.12

He tells me Constantine commissioned the erection of numerous churches, most notable the original Hagia Sophia in 326AD which would later be destroyed during a riot. The current incarnation of Hagia Sophia, built by Emperor Justinian around 537AD, would be the masterpiece of Byzantine architecture; the largest church for nearly 1,000 years, and the epicenter of eastern Christianity.13

When the Ottomans finally conquered Constantinople in the 15th century, many Byzantine churches and monuments were destroyed, but when Sultan Mehmet II crossed the threshold of Hagia Sophia and stood before its sublime architectural beauty, he immediately dropped to his knees and ordered his soldiers to cease pillaging.15 Mehmet II had the church repaired, added minarets, and converted it to a Mosque.16 Justinian’s appropriated masterpiece would be the inspiration and aspiration for Ottoman architects as they transformed the landscape of their new capital city, Istanbul.

Over the centuries Justinian’s great church would see its city repeatedly ravaged by fires and earthquakes, seized by foreign empires, reoccupied and overthrown again.14

Photo: Hannah Quaid

He stops us in front of a four story building with a two story glass facade that shows off the immense collection of rugs within. We’ve finally arrived at his shop. It’s nicer than I expected. He leads me up the narrow stairway and introduces me to his cousin. I reiterate that I am not interested in buying a rug. The small grey suited man cuts me off, says no, no, that’s fine! We’ll just sit, talk, drink some tea. He gestures for his cousin to bring out the tea, apple tea. Two Victorian chairs are placed before a large stack of rugs, he motions me over and we sit. The rugs are impressive; deceptively soft, with beautifully complex patterning. Like the buildings here in Istanbul, the rugs are colorful but muted, as if the saturation levels have all been turned down.

Photo: Steven Grootaert

Photo: Steven Grootaert

His cousin returns with our tea; two thin pear shaped glasses on small floral dishes, tiny spoons with two wrapped sugar cubes next to them. As I unwrap the sugar cubes I wonder how many times a day the small Turkish man goes through this ritual. How often does he walk that route from the Blue Mosque with a potential customer, retelling his city’s history along the way. He keeps Istanbul’s rich past alive, even if only as a lure. His day-to-day existence here in the Sultanahmet district is defined by the decisions made by men that have been dead for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The ancient patterns of the rugs copiously stacked throughout his showroom were created hundreds of years ago, designed by the expert fingers of long dead women. Sultanahmet anchors him in place, demands he learn its stories and walk its routes.

As my sugar cubes dissolve into the golden brown warmth of this traditional Turkish drink, I think about the trendy young Turk that worked at the knock-off Prada stand in the Grand Bazaar. His shop, tucked away along one of the narrow winding halls, had been the size of a large closet. Bright multicolored “designer� purses and bags covered the walls and hung from the ceiling. There are over 5,000 shops like the trendy young Turk,s in the Grand Bazaar selling everything from blue jeans, T-shirts, earrings and necklaces, to shoes, musical instruments, evil-eye magnets, and backgammon boards.17

The Grand Bazaar was commissioned by Sultan Mehmet II the Conqueror in 1455, soon after taking control of his new city as a means to promote trade and to stimulate income for the recently converted Hagia Sophia Mosque.18

map courtesy of:

Sultan Mehmet’s vision is still being realized over five centuries later. Everyday 300,000 people traverse the sixty streets of the historic bazaar, pursuing the maze of overpriced souvenirs, fashionable head scarves, and ceramic cat figurines.19 The merchants, most of them men, hover outside their shops assertively calling out to the shopper as they pass by, Hey my friend, this way! or, yes please, you come look! Some use humor, Buy one, get him free! (as he gestures towards a fellow merchant), or, How can I help you spend your money! The trendy young Turk at the phony Prada shop had been more mild, he’d opened with the standard: Tell me, where you are from my friend?

I told him I was from the states, looking for a gift for my sister. He showed me a few bags; insisted they were just as high quality as real Prada bags for hundreds less. I picked out a purple one I thought my sister would like and asked him how much. Fifty Lira. I offered him twenty-five. He huffed disgustedly, asked if I was crazy, said they cost him more than that. I thanked him for his time and began to walk away. The trendy young Turk quickly stopped me and said for me he can give his best price: forty lira. I thanked him again, but said no. Seemingly annoyed he asked how much then? I told him thirty lira was the most I could do. He immediately countered thirty-five. I got the bag.

While he packaged up my purchase he made small talk, asked how long I had been in Istanbul? Four weeks. Had I been to see the Blue Mosque yet? No, perhaps that evening. What did I think of his city so far? I told him it was beautiful, very photogenic.

The trendy young Turk huffed disgustedly again and handed me the bag, said it was beautiful to me because I got to leave. Said the only way he could ever leave Istanbul would be by joining the army. He gave me my change, fifteen lira. I thanked him and began my journey out of the Grand Bazaar.

The small Turkish man in the light grey suit asks if I would like some more tea. I tell him no, I should head back to my hotel. He insists I have one more cup with him. Maybe while his cousin makes some more tea he could show me a few of his best carpets? His are genuine Turkish carpets, not like those cheap factory-made ones in the Grand Bazaar! Did I know those aren’t even made in Turkey! His carpets are highest quality: handspun silk, 100 knots per centimeter, natural dyes, no chemicals! His enthusiasm borders on desperation. And for a moment I see all of them in his fervent face, the trendy young Turk, the gypsy beggar, the men selling maps, and the old ladies selling water; all of them surviving on remnants of antiquity. It’s just so much stone and glass to them. You call it ancient, we call it still standing. For me it’s an adventure, for them it’s Tuesday. You must buy! Everyone buys carpet in Turkey! Come on my friend, you have money! For this one I give you best deal! Despite his persistent and impassioned protests I leave the shop of the small Turkish man in the light grey suit sans carpet. As I head to the door I thank him again for the tea and the history lesson. His kindly manner abandoned, he says nothing.

His annoyance and disgust are palpable, and for the first time since I’d met him at the foot of the Blue Mosque earlier in the evening, he is silent. His cousin quickly walks over, puts his hand on my shoulder and thanks me for visiting their shop. He holds open the door for me and as I descend the constricted stairs he tells me maybe before I leave I can come back and take a look at their carpets again. Ours are the best in all of Turkey!

Back outside the low sun cuts long, harsh shadows across the buildings crowding the narrow street. I head back in the general direction I think we came. I feel bad for the small Turkish man in the light grey suit. Despite his disgust and annoyance with me, I suspect he is a good man just trying to make a living. Although he wears a suit and sells carpets he’s still a fisherman, just like the early Greek settlers before him. Today I was his catch, probably the last of the day, and I had just snapped his line and swam away. I realize now I’ve broken an unspoken rule: in Istanbul nothing is free, not even history lessons.

As I make my way through the maze-like network of oddly intersecting streets I come upon a street market. Gently curving rows of trucks and vans with white canopies suspended between them carve a valley through one of the city’s few open spaces.

Tables and stands covered with endless varieties of fruits and vegetables line the narrow man made valley.

There are over 350 street markets set up around the city everyday and it is at these markets where many locals do their shopping.20 Daily necessities can be found at the street markets as well. Next to the strawberries, a stand displays toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and soap. Next to the eggs, an assortment of cheap watches.

In the middle of the market an old man with a grey beard has a wooden crate with cheap plastic toys on it. One of the toys is a wind-up camel that races around, galloping spastically; my son would love it. I ask him how much, he holds up one gnarled old finger. I dig out a single Lira coin and hand it to him. Although I’m sure I’ll butcher it, I thank him in Turkish, tesekkur ederim. He looks at me surprised, his voice low and strained, rica ederim.

As I tuck the racing camel into my backpack and begin to walk away, the old man reaches out and grabs my arm. He puts something in my hand, I can feel him tremble as he struggles to folds my fingers around the object. He shakes and pats my closed fist with both of his hard bent hands. It’s a tesbih, Islamic prayer beads, each bead a small blue and white evil-eye. I thank him again. He nods politely, rica ederim.

This, too, is Istanbul.

From the street market I’d noticed the minarets of the Blue Mosque, seagulls circling and diving around them in large swooping loops. The sun is setting and the sky is a perfect royal blue. The streets are at a standstill. The Mercedes, Audis and taxis, that zipped down the narrow roads before inch along now, occasionally blasting their impatient horns at one another. Everyone is going home–it is, after all, just a Tuesday.

Gripping the tesbih in my hand, I head down a flight of stairs and cut through the nargile cafe behind the Blue Mosque. The musicians are playing still, but now a whirling dervish dances on the stage, spinning in an endless, graceful circle, arms extended to God.

The well dressed mix of locals and travelers relax beneath the smoky haze trapped by the maroon canopies. Some watch the dervish, holding up cell phones and cameras to record his transcendent dance. Others suck from their nargile tips, hover over a backgammon board and contemplate their next move. A chorus of waiters beckon me as I pass by, Yes please, this way please! Excuse me sir, come sit! Best rice pudding in all of Istanbul! I smile and walk past.

I head up the stairs behind the mosque, past the gardens, toward the tunnel leading back to the courtyard. Turning to enter the tunnel, a small Turkish man in a dark blue suit leads a young couple, cameras dangling from their necks, past me. As I make my way deeper into the shadowed belly of the tunnel, I hear the small Turkish man in the dark blue suit tell the couple to watch their step, many people trip here.

Photos: Hannah Quaid

This is Istanbul.




It’s 11:00pm. A river of tourists and locals flood

İstiklâl Caddesi, a popular shopping district at the heart of Istanbul. Shoulder to shoulder, the mass of bodies pushes through this urban valley. Even at this late hour businesses continue to beckon patrons; techno thumping from open doors. Street venders call out to the massive crowd from behind their carts offering corn on the cob, roasted chestnuts, and fresh simit. Colors and lights dominate the landscape; neon signs and store front decorations pop out against the dark Turkish sky.

A vast canopy of Christmas lights spans the street overhead and follows the crowds flowing up and down the strip; a faux celestial ceiling reducing the scale of the cosmos, turning us into giants, our heads nearly touching the stars. A bell jingles, the trolley squeezes past headed down the hill, teenage boys hang on back for a free ride.

I’m searching for a place to have a final beer before heading back to my hotel in Sultanahmet. Options are limited along the main strip, but the streets branching off from İstiklâl are packed with restaurants, bars, cafes, and nightclubs. Loud groups of people roam the streets laughing and yelling to one another as they flow from bar to bar. Lines form outside of the hip, upscale establishments. Through the windows, finely dressed men and women can be seen leaning in toward each other, laughing and talking as they casually take a drag from a cigarette and sip their cocktails.

Outside many the nightclubs, aggressive young Turks promise the best drink specials, amazing terrace views, and the most beautiful girls in all of Istanbul. Like the merchants at the grand bazaar, they are confrontational yet charming: Come have a drink my friend, usually 10 lira, but tonight, for you, just 5 lira! Please this way! It’s the same routine, just a different product. The merchants in the Grand Bazaar sold foreign and exotic, they went out of their way to capitalize on the “otherness” of the area. Here along İstiklâl they sell the familiar; a western appeal coats everything. American pop music blasts through open doors: Lady Gaga, Black Eye’d Peas, 50 Cent; Budweiser and Miller are on tap. If not for the foreign signage and universal acceptance of indoor smoking, this could be any bar/shopping district in the United States.

During the day this western facelift is even more apparent. The old women walking around, heads covered by the hijab, are not as prevalent here. The minarets and domes that punctuate the horizon around Sultanahmet are distinctly absent as well. Although traditional Turkish dÜner and kebob restaurants are plentiful along the network of side streets that branch off from İstiklâl Caddesi, along the main strip, McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks dominate the landscape.

Western clothing and fashion boutiques are ubiquitous along İstiklâl: The Body Shop, Banana Republic, and United Colors of Benetton mingle in this hybridized district with Nike, Adidas, and NBA stores. Even tattoo parlors, a practice condemned by Islamic culture, have popped up all over İstiklâl.

As if to underscore this western penchant, in a city otherwise peppered with mosques, only one neglected, little mosque can be found along İstiklâl Caddesi. So the devout might face Mecca while they pray, this lone mosque sits off axis to the surrounding shops. It does not fit here; it is literally out of place.

Along İstiklâl Caddesi, Istanbul abandons the sacred for the profane.

To avoid the high priced drinks and large crowds, I branch off onto one of the smaller side streets in search of a quiet place to have a beer. The wind has picked up and forces its way through this narrow channel of shops and hotels. A sandwich board advertisement outside a tattoo parlor topples over. A man emerges from the doorway, a cigarette gripped tightly between his lips, and quickly rights the miniature retail obelisk.

Something catches my eye down the street; a giant plastic pumpkin hangs from the facade of a small pub. Neon lights illuminate the darkness below; bottles of liquor glow ice blue beneath a flaming orange ceiling. Even from this distance I can hear the repetitive thump of American pop music banging against the walls. The outside patio seating is empty, a few patrons hover around the bar within. I head in and grab a stool down the bar from the small crowd.

I motion for the bartender, a scruffy headed young Turk, and order a beer; an Efes, a tall one. He pours the beer and returns to the animated conversation taking place at the other end of the bar. I don’t mean to eavesdrop, but due to their alcohol influenced volume level it is impossible not to. They ask the waitress if she would mind changing the “touristy” American music playing over the sound system to something she might normally listen to. Slightly presumptuous I think. Maybe she really likes the techno version of Boom Boom Pow. She leans over the shoulder of a quiet Turk sitting in front of his laptop at the corner of the bar. She points to the screen and soon Bob Marley’s, Three Little Birds, fills the small space. Good choice. The group is elated, they love Bob too. She asks them where they’re from. They’re from the States, college students here studying Ottoman architecture. The waitress translates for the scruffy headed bartender and the quiet Turk. She excitedly tells the group the bartender is an urban planning major.

They are all amazed by this fortuitous coincidence.

The group immediately barrage the scruffy headed bartender/urban planning major with questions about his city. I nurse my beer and listen in as he deftly manages their plethora of inquiries. Via the waitress, he tells them much of what you see in Istanbul today was born from fire. After the Ottoman Empire’s successful conversion of Christian Constantinople into Islamic Istanbul, the city and the empire would expand largely unscathed by major disruption for nearly 200 years.21

Photo: Chen Hu

The built landscape increased along with the city’s population; a dense network of dwellings and shops spread out across the city. Because wood had been the traditional building material of the Ottomans, as the developed area grew, so too did the threat of fire.

The scruffy headed bartender tells the eager young architecture students the first major fire would occur in the Cibali district in 1633 and for the next 200 years numerous fires would transform the landscape of the city.22 He asks them if they have been to see the Galata tower yet. They haven’t. Neither have I, although I did pass by it as I made my way up İstiklâl from the Tünel station. He tells them Galata tower was built in 1348 as a looking post to spot fires around the city. Now it has a restaurant and nightclub in it, but only the tourists go there.23

Photo: Hannah Quaid

Each time vast areas of the city burned to the ground, they were rebuilt using traditional Ottoman construction materials until 1864 when the government decreed all new construction had to be of brick or stone. The bartender tells them although the fires devastated the city and its inhabitants, they provided opportunities to rebuild with more rigorous order than had been employed during the early stages of the city’s growth.24

After the Askaray fire of 1856 that destroyed over 600 buildings and monuments, the Ottomans, who had become enamored with the technological advances and modern infrastructure of western Europe, brought in an Italian engineer to design a more systematic development scheme for the area.24 map courtesy of: the remaking of istanbul, Celik

The great fire of 1870 destroyed over three thousand buildings in the district of Pera. İstiklâl Caddesi, which was then known as Cadde-i Kebir, or the Grande Rue, was largely destroyed as well.25 This devastating blaze would shape the appearance of İstiklâl today.

map courtesy of: the remaking of istanbul, Celik

Like a mini Champs Elleysee, the pedestrian friendly avenue was rebuilt with the finest European influenced buildings, French neoclassical, and Art Nouveau facades flank the wide strip. The bartender tells them the Grand Rue was considered to be the “Paris of the East� by foreigners and was, as it is today, a popular destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment.26

Photo: Hannah Quaid

The scruffy headed bartender sets up a round of shots; a bright red liquid glows in the tiny glasses. They ask the waitress what it is, she shrugs her shoulders and smiles. They grab their shots; the waitress, the bartender, even the quiet Turk in the corner joins in. Glasses clink together enthusiastically as the group toasts this moment of common bond.

Chick Corea is playing now, his earlier avant garde stuff. The waitress and one of the students rush over to the quiet Turk’s corner to look at his laptop, they both love Chick; want to see what other songs the quiet Turk has.

Despite their ever increasing inebriation, questions for the bartender/urban planning major persist. One of the American students wonders where the Ottoman Empire’s apparent fascination with all things western arises from. They’re surprised such a powerful empire would look outside its borders for design and infrastructure decisions. The bartender tells them it was a gradual process, one that was highly controversial and often met with great resistance.

He tells them one of the main contributing factors was the decline of the Ottoman Empire’s dominance in the region during the 17th and 18th centuries as western Europe entered the Age of Enlightenment. The conservative Ottoman sultans and military leaders initially denounce this period of great discovery and technological advancement, but as the balance of power continued to shift toward the west, the Ottoman leaders reluctantly began to reach out to their neighbors.27

The bartender tells them about the first Turkish Ambassador sent to France in 1720 on a tour of fortresses and factories to determine what could be of use back in Turkey. While the sultan at the time, Sultan Ahmed III, had been impressed by his ambassador’s findings, his admiration would be largely superficial; architectural forms and flourishes, decoration schemes that could be incorporated into traditional Ottoman building and mosque designs. The general public did not share the Sultan’s admiration however, and resisted this notion of Europeanizing.

Photo: Hannah Quaid

Because Ahmed’s interest had primarily been European decorative styles, the public backlash never became violent.27 Nearly a century later, Sultan Selim III would not be so fortunate. His attempts to introduce European military methodologies would lead to a revolt from the conservative Janissary forces. In 1808, he would be murdered by the reform party as they attempt to replace him on the thrown.28

The bartender continues to tell them how the conservative Muslim base would eventually become out-voiced by a broader demographic of progressive Muslims, as well as French, English, and Italian immigrants, who desired the benefits of a modern city.29 This new forward-looking majority, coupled with repeated land losses and military defeats, paved the way for wide spread adoption of westernization.

In 1839, the Ottoman Empire, desperate to save itself, would sign into law the Tanzimat Charter. This decree made the reformation of the government in accordance to the European model the country’s official policy.30 The Tanzimat Charter opened Turkey’s doors to foreign investors as well. Because the Ottoman Empire lacked the financial capital necessary to invest in new technologies, it was through concessions to foreign enterprises they would usher in their modern transformation.31

In the 1850’s, foreign engineers and boat manufactures were brought in to overhaul the cities insufficient ferry system.31 Photo: Hannah Quaid

He asks if they’ve ridden the tram? They have. The trams were also a result of the Tanzimat Charter. In 1864 concessions were made to an English entrepreneur for the development of a European based tramway system.31

Photo: Hannah Quaid

In the 1870’s, a British firm replaced the outdated wooden bridge across the Golden Horn with a modern structure that floated on pontoons.31 The bartender asks if they’ve been across the Galata Bridge yet. They have. He tells them the current bridge was completed in 1994. Photo: Chen Hu

Photo: Hannah Quaid

image courtesy of:

Have they taken the Tünel yet? They haven’t. The Tünel was completed in 1875, and is the second oldest subway in Europe after the London underground.32 He recommends riding it before they leave. image courtesy of:

image courtesy of:

The scruffy headed bartender grabs a number of mugs and pours another round of beers. When the students attempt to decline the waitress tells them not to worry about the tab, the bartender owns the place and he’s drunk and likes to hear himself talk. They laugh and raise a toast to the free drinks.

Nick Cave’s melancholy Red Right hand begins to ooze from the speakers. One of the American girls throws her head back, raises her arms in the air and begins to swing her hips languorously back and forth with the foreboding bass line; she loves this song. I notice a silver teardrop shaped Atatßrk earring dangling from the girls ear.

As his stoic likeness sparkles against her dark hair I remember the Atatürk shrine in the döner shop up the street from my hotel. The proprietor, a large sweaty Turk with a long scar running down the side of his face, had huffed disgustedly when I’d asked who the golden statue was. He couldn’t believe I didn’t recognize the father of modern Turkey; the fact that I was from the United States was apparently an insufficient excuse. He insisted I’d probably never heard of the Young Turks then either. I confirmed I had not. As the large sweaty Turk effortlessly shaved slices of meat from the rotating spit, he explained how the Young Turks, a splinter fraction of the Turkish Army had, in 1908, revolted and forced Sultan Mohammed V to relinquish his autocratic control and accept a constitutional form of government.33 The Young Turks would retain power until their defeat in 1918 at the hands of the Allied Nations during the First World War.34

The large sweaty Turk scooped a pile of withered french fries from under the heat lamp and dropped them into the sandwich. With his chin he’d gestured towards the shrine and continued telling me how Atatürk, who at the time was simply known as Mustafa Kemal, (Atatürk translates to: Father of Turkey), rose to power in the years following the fall of the Young Turks. In 1922, the last sultan, Sultan Mehmet VI, would go into voluntary exile as Atatürk influence grew throughout the country.34 In 1923, Atatürk would be elected the first president of the new Turkish Republic and the sultanate is officially abolished.33 To further sever ties with its Ottoman past, Atatürk moves the capital of Turkey to Ankara in the east. The large sweaty Turk told me Atatürk had been a fearless proponent for westernization. He had preached, There could be no room for the laws of reason in a country dominated by the Laws of God.

Photo: Hannah Quaid

The secularization of his country being his chief concern, Atat端rk would strive during the 16 years he held office to erase Islam from all aspects of government. He removed from the Constitution all references to Islam and Koranic law and replaced them with legal codes based on European systems of law. He replaced the traditional Arabic script with the Roman alphabet, banned the wearing of the hijab, and all religious teachings in school.35 The large sweaty Turk tossed a handful of thinly sliced lettuce and carrots on top of the sandwich, wrapped it in paper and asked me, for here or to go? To go.

image courtesy of:

image courtesy of:

As he handed me my change he told me when Atat端rk died in 1938, he was a national hero celebrated throughout the country.36 He had freed the Turks from Ottoman rule, ushered in democracy and industry, and returned the country to a position of power. Though many Turks today have returned to their traditional Islamic customs and beliefs, everyone still worships Atat端rk. The large sweaty Turk explained to me that is why he has the shrine, that is why the Atat端rk statues and murals are everywhere, why his face is on their money and stamps: everyone loves Atat端rk. He may have tried to take away their God, but he had given them back their country.

image courtesy of:

image courtesy of:

Nick Cave’s dark lounge melody and the American girls swaying hips have both come to an end. Atatürk’s ubiquitous face hides again beneath her hair. She joins a few of the students standing at the bar looking at a map the scruffy headed bartender has sketched on a napkin. The others surround the quiet Turk at the corner of the bar; they’re on his laptop adding the waitress as a friend on Facebook. She tells them to send her a message the next day and she’ll take them to see the real Istanbul, not all the cheesy tourist sites.

I’ve finished my beer. I set the empty mug down on a ten lira note and rap my knuckle on the bar as I get up to leave. The scruffy headed bartender makes his way over, asks if I need change, I tell him no, keep it. He nods his head and does a quick double tap on the bar.

This is Istanbul.

Back on the narrow side streets, the wind is still whipping; the tattoo parlors sandwich board sign has toppled over again and has blown down the block. It’s 1am. I’ve eavesdropped too long; the trams have stopped for the night–it’s going to be a long walk back to the hotel. I make my way back up to İstiklâl Caddesi; the Grand Rue.

The stores are all closed now; steel doors covered with graffiti protect the storefronts. The crowds are gone. Other than a group of guys stumbling past a street sweeper as it slowly erases the nights debauchery, I am alone.

I look up at the faux celestial canopy; thousands of tiny lights twinkling in the air above me. I think about the fires that ravaged and then reshaped this area. Looking at the swirling Art Nouveau iron work, and the neoclassical columns, pediments, and entablatures, I think about Sultan Ahmed III and his admiration for western decoration. I think about Selim III, murdered for his western tendencies. And I think about Mustafa Kemal, Atatürk: the champion of westernization, worshipped and admired despite banishing Islamic culture during his reign and paving the way for this most recent wave of western cultural invasion. I make my way down İstiklâl towards the water. On my way I pass the darkened storefronts of Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, even Kentucky Fried Chicken...

This is still Istanbul, right?




Every morning I am ripped from sleep by a gang of ferocious howler monkeys battling to the death outside my hotel window. It’s actually the screeching from the seagulls circling around the minarets of the Blue Mosque, they just sound like ferocious howler monkeys. I have been able to adjust to, and can sleep through the morning call to prayer, but from the violent wailing of the gulls, I have not. For the first few seconds of every morning I am certain riotous primates have taken over the city–my final morning in Istanbul has been no exception.

It is a little past 7am. I am on the hotel’s rooftop terrace spitefully staring at the gulls gliding in lazy loops above the mosque. The hotel’s helper, a timid young Iranian immigrant, wipes down the morning dew from the glass table tops. He smiles and says good morning quickly and quietly without making eye contact. During my stay here we have been practicing English. I ask how he is doing. He tells me, very good, again without making eye contact, but I can see his eager smile. He reminds me of a stray dog, nervous and hesitant but desperate for affection.

He already has the complimentary breakfast set up: hard boiled eggs, rolls, olives, yogurt, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, a couple types of cheeses and meats and french toast. I have the french toast drizzled with a strawberry marmalade, two hard boiled eggs, and a cup of apple tea.

The timid young helper clicks on the large flat screen TV and brings me the remote. I don’t really want to watch TV, but I say thanks and flip through the channels until I find a news program with English subtitles. Photo: Hannah Quaid

Photo: Laurie McGinley

As I cautiously sip my tea, the owner of the hotel, a slender man with a mischievous grin, bounds up the stairs to the terrace. He enters quickly, snaps a few orders at the timid young helper, and flops down in the chair next to me. He immediately begins complaining to me about the timid helper, how he can never take an eye off of him for a second or nothing ever gets done. I shrug my shoulders and sip my tea.

The hotel owner has been exceptionally friendly toward me during my stay here. He is frequently out front on the stoop smoking and laughing with the neighboring shop owners. When I leave or return to the hotel he smiles warmly, shakes my hand–holding it a bit longer than we would in the states–and asks where I’m off to or where I’ve been. He jokes with me, calls me Hollywood, says I look like the bad guys in the movies. At night up at the rooftop bar, he discounts my beers and stays up late telling me about his beautiful city. Photo: Laurie McGinley

But with the timid helper he is abrasive. He shouts orders and criticisms in Turkish, a language the young Iranian immigrant does not understand. Anything that goes wrong is always the helper’s fault.

The grinning hotel owner hops up from his chair and heads over to make up a plate of food. He returns with a mountainous stack of steaming french toast covered with strawberry marmalade. He grabs a slice, folds it over, and bites off a greedy mouthful. While chewing he tells me if I want to stay in Istanbul longer I could work for him at the hotel, that way he could finally fire the timid helper. He’s too quiet; makes the guests uncomfortable. I do not reply.

We continue to work on our french toast in silence. On the television there’s another report about the Israeli attack last week on the Turkish flotilla that had been headed to the Gaza strip. During the seizure of one of the larger supply boats, nine Turkish aid workers were killed.

image courtesy of:

image courtesy of:

The Israeli government claims those killed during the raid were actually Islamic militants who had planned and instigated the attack on the naval commandos as they boarded the vessel. According to the Turks, the commandos opened fire without warning and the victims were simply aid workers for the IHH, an Islamic charity organization.37

image courtesy of:

image courtesy of:

After a few more moments of silence I ask the hotel owner if he thinks Turkey should join the European Union? Would being a part of the E.U. offer greater protection for Turkey? He huffs disgustedly, protection from who? Israel? Bah! Israel will do what it wants because the U.S. protects them! Besides, they’ll never let Turkey into the European Union! He insists everyone is scared; the French, the Germans, even the United States all believe Turkey will be an open gateway for Iranian terrorists to flood into Europe.38 The hotel owner’s permanent grin has transformed into a concentrated scowl. He abruptly grabs the remote and clicks off the television. We sit in silence for a few moments. Eventually I ask who he believes is at fault. He says it doesn’t matter, the damage is done. He tells me Turkey had been one of the only Muslim countries willing to work with Israel, and now that relationship has certainly been destroyed. He gestures towards the timid young helper struggling to get the barbecue grill in from the outdoor terrace. He tells me this is what sneaks in from Iran; worthless workers that barely speak Turkish or English and are scared of their own shadows! He throws his head back and laughs, Sarkozy and Merkel are afraid of this!? image courtesy of:

image courtesy of:

But his scowl quickly returns窶的 think my question may have struck a nerve. He contends it is the E.U. that needs Turkey and not the other way around. The E.U. is on bad terms with most Muslim countries, they are only considering including Turkey because Turkey represents a bridge to that oil rich world. But why should we play the mediator? What is the benefit for us?

He tells me the Turkish people have no interest in being “accepted� into the European Union; a few years ago when the Turkish economy was weak, 70% of his people wanted Turkey to join, but now that the economy is strong, less than half believe it is necessary.39 He asks me if I know what the IMF is. I am familiar with the International Monetary Fund. He tells me the IMF predicts Turkey will be the fastest growing economy in all of Europe in 2010, so why would Turkey need the E.U.?40

Photo: Steven Grootaert

Photos: Steven Grootaert

Photos: Steven Grootaert

The hotel owner laughs abruptly, slams his fist on the table and asks me if I know where the largest shopping center in Europe is. I know it is here, I’d visited it a few days prior. I tell him the Cevahir shopping center in Istanbul. He smiles broadly, he is quite proud of this. He tells me not only does Turkey have the oldest shopping center in the world in the Grand Bazaar, but they also have the biggest shopping center in all of Europe as well! Turkey is doing just fine! Confident he has proven his point, the hotel owner’s mischievous grin returns.

While we finish breakfast I think about the mammoth Cevahir shopping center. Perhaps it is because I grew up so near the Mall of America, but I was under-impressed by Cevahir’s girth. It was certainly big–a monument to consumerism in the best western sense–but it felt soulless, it lacked identity. In the States, where big-box retail outlets and pre-fab strip malls are ubiquitous, a soulless structure hardly stands out. But here, in this city that predates Christ, Cevahir’s spatial accomplishments seem frivolous. The bar has been set too high in Istanbul; being big is hardly enough.

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Disappointed, I hopped back on the tram and headed across town to an open air shopping center I had heard about in the financial district: Kanyon Mall

It was apparent as soon as I arrived at Kanyon this would be a different beast. Unlike Cevahir, Kanyon’s identity was striking and immediate; the structure was bold and complex. In a formal sense, Kanyon severed all ties to the city’s architectural past–there were no arches, columns, or towering minarets–yet it still managed to feel grounded in Istanbul.

Although entirely modern, Kanyon still felt intrinsically connected to its ancient neighbors like Hagia Sophia. Kanyon was daring, it strived for greatness, to establish a new status-quo. Much like Justinian’s masterpiece, at Kanyon, form transcends function and becomes the experience. Hagia Sophia was never just a church, nor was Kanyon just a mall. This is what unites these disparate spaces: their significance speaks for itself.

After clearing the security checkpoint I headed over to Starbucks, ordered an iced mocha, and sat down next to the reflecting pool and began setting up my camera; Kanyon’s dramatically curving geometries begged to be photographed.

Photo: Hannah Quaid

While cleaning my lens, a tall brunette approached and asked where I was from. I smiled, told her I was from the States. She gestured towards my camera, said it was nice and that I had good taste, but was I familiar with Sony’s new Alpha NEX series? She told me her shop was just around the corner if I would please follow her, she had the new models in stock.

Ahhh, a Sony rep; I should have known. I hadn’t experienced many female merchants in Istanbul besides the old ladies selling water outside the Blue Mosque. In Sultanahmet, and even along İstiklâl, big ticket sales seemed to be reserved for men. Women could sell beverages, band-aids, travel Kleenex, or other small convenience products, but it was predominantly men who sold high priced items like carpets, antiques, artwork, and electronics. Even in the clothing boutiques, male merchants sold expensive Turkish dresses and ornate belly dancing outfits. In the Financial district, it appeared gender equality had taken hold a bit more. Photo: Hannah Quaid

I told the tall brunette I was happy with my LX3 and politely declined her offer. She insisted I must see the new NEX-5; the chassis was smaller than my LX3’s and it supported interchangeable lenses. I told her I only had a few days left in Istanbul and was running out of cash so I would not be interested in buying a new camera. Undeterred she said that was fine, I did not need to buy one, just come look… plus she can take a credit card anyway.

On our way to the tall brunette’s shop, she’d asked if this was my first time in Istanbul and what I thought of her city. I told her it was my first time, and I found it to be a beautiful city, very photogenic. When we arrived at her shop, I told her I was particularly enamored with Kanyon at the moment and was eager to begin documenting it.

She ignored the hint and instead asked how much I knew about Kanyon; I admitted not much. She told me she’d started working there soon after it opened in June of 2006. The project had been a joint venture between a local Turkish architecture firm and a firm from Los Angeles. The complex consisted of the open air mall with 160 luxury shops, a 26 story office building, and 179 residential apartments.41

As she unlocked the display case and retrieved the NEX-5, she told me Kanyon was significant because it represented her city’s future; a future unburdened by the weight of 3000 years of history, 3000 years of so much stone and rubble. She told me Kanyon proved Istanbul’s greatest monuments were yet to be built.

I suggested it sounded as though she resented Istanbul’s past. She huffed disgustedly and told me she loved Istanbul–even the old mosques and forgotten cisterns–but her city was so much more than just its past.

The tall brunette insisted Istanbul was a modern, cosmopolitan city; a leader in the fashion and art worlds, with new boutiques and galleries opening regularly. She asked if I was aware Istanbul had been designated the 2010 European Capital of Culture. I was aware; I had seen the posters all over the city. She believed this proved the rest of Europe was finally recognizing the brilliant work taking place throughout her city.

Photo: Hannah Quaid

Photo: Steven Grootaert

Photo: Hannah Quaid

Photo: Hannah Quaid

She told me many of the best designers flock to Istanbul to work for the most dynamic and industry-leading architecture, graphic design, and animation studios in the world.

According to the tall brunette, her city was on the verge of a renaissance; a new golden age, where it would once again be a Mecca for creativity and innovation.

As if scripted, she then transitioned into explaining the NEX-5’s innovative all electronic lens mounting system and the advantages of the 24mm CMOS sensor.

Yeah, this is Istanbul...




I’ve finished my final breakfast in Istanbul. The grinning hotel owner has finished as well; he springs from his chair, tells me to find him when I’m ready to check out, barks a few orders at the timid helper, and heads downstairs.

I bring my dishes over to the counter, grab my backpack, and step out onto the terrace to take in the view of the Bosporus from the hotel one last time.

Photo: Laurie McGinley

I remove my new Sony Alpha NEX-5 from its case, attach the 16mm pancake lens and capture the sprawling vista in 14.2 megapixel bursts.

Looking across the sea to Uskundar, I think about Istanbul’s creation myth; the legend of Byzas of Megara and the Delphic Oracle. I wonder how many cities can trace their origins to the son of Poseidon. I think about the Oracle’s instructions for Byzas: to found a new settlement across from the land of the blind.

Photo: Hannah Quaid

I think about those early Greek fisherman and tradesmen capitalizing on Byzantium’s ideal location along the Golden Horn; and later the Roman, Latin, and Ottoman Empires that would repeatedly conquer each other for control of this strategic geographic intersection.

And I think about Istanbul today. How this fractured city continues to straddle these ancient waterways, connecting two continents, dual identities: the east and the west, the sacred and the profane, the past and the future. I wonder if any other city must bear such a burden...

I pack up my camera and continue for a moment to stare out across the blue-green water of the Golden Horn. Beyond the terrace railings, past the endless rooftops spotted with satellite dishes, past the ruins of the old fortification walls, an armada of container ships filled with commerce and opportunity speckles the horizon.

Photo: Hannah Quaid

This is Istanbul...




NOTES 1. Amanda Briney, “Istanbul was once Constantinople: A Brief History of Istanbul, Turkey,” May 5, 2010. interest/a/istanbul.htm 2. Turkish Statistical Institute, Prime Ministry, Republic of Turkey. Press Release. No:15. January 29, 2009. 3. Rabah Saoud, “Muslim Architecture under Ottoman Patronage(1326-1924),” July 8, 2004. 4. Turkish Cultural Foundation. “The Great Architect Sinan (Koka Mimar Sinan),” 2011. 5. “The Great Palace,” 2011. 3&id=streetgreatpalace-istanbul-turkey 6. Zeynep Celik, The Remaking of Istanbul: Portrait of an Ottoman City in the 19th Century (Berkley: University of California Press, 1993) 11. 7. Robert Liddell, Byzantium and Istanbul (J.Cape, 1956) 23. 8. Robert Bator, Daily life in Ancient and Modern Istanbul (Minneapolis: Runestone Press, 2000) 7. 9. Celik, The Remaking of Istanbul, 11. 10. Celik, The Remaking of Istanbul, 11. 11. Liddell, Byzantium and Istanbul, 25. 12. Bator, Daily life, 18. 13. Archnet Digital Library. “Hagia Sophia,” 2010. 14. Liddell, Byzantium and Istanbul, 28. 15. Liddell, Byzantium and Istanbul, 120.

NOTESCONTINUED 16. Archnet, “Hagia Sophia,” 17. “The Grand Bazaar,” 2010. The_Grand_Bazaar.html 18. Archnet, “Hagia Sophia,” 19. “The Grand Bazaar,” 2010. 20. Pelin Dervis, Bulent Tanju, Ugur Tanyeli, eds. Becoming Istanbul (Istanbul: Garanti Gallery, 2008) 297. 21. Briney, “Istanbul was once Constantinople” 22. Uriel Heyd, “The Jewish Communities of Istanbul in the 17th Century,” Oriens Vol. 6, No. 2 (Dec. 31, 1953), pp. 299-314 23. John freely, Blue Guide: Istanbul (London: A & C Black Publishers, 1997) 249. 24. Celik, The Remaking of Istanbul, 52-53. 25. Celik, The Remaking of Istanbul, 64. 26. Sancho Gallilei, “Istanbul: Beyoglu,” 2002. travelarticles/beyoglu.asp 27. Diana Barillari, Ezio Godoli, Istanbul 1900: Art Nouveau Architecture and Interiors (New York: Rizzoli, 1996) 35. 28. Liddell, Byzantium and Istanbul, 151. 29. Celik, The Remaking of Istanbul, 44. 30. “A Brief History of Turks,” 2010. 31. Celik, The Remaking of Istanbul, 86-91. 32. Pelin Dervis, Bulent Tanju, Ugur Tanyeli, eds. Becoming Istanbul (Istanbul: Garanti Gallery, 2008) 334. 33. Celik, The Remaking of Istanbul, 31. 34. Colin Thubron, Istanbul (UK: Time-Life Books, 1978) 41.

NOTESCONTINUED 35. Cengiz Candar “Ataturks Ambiuous Legacy,” The Wilson Quarterly Vol. 24, No. 4 (Autmn 2000) pp. 88-96 36. Thubron, Istanbul, 107. 37. Josef Federman, “Israel says Activists Prepared for Fight on Ship,” Washington Times, June 6th, 2010. 38. Gulnur Aybet, “Turkey’s Rising Role in the Middle East,”, Feb. 10th 2011. 39. Leo Cendrowicz, “Fifty Years on, Turkey Still Pines to Become European,” Time, Sept. 8th, 2009.,8599,1920882,00.html 40. “IMF Projects Turkish Economy Growth at 7.8pc in 2010,”, Oct. 6th, 2010. 41. “Kanyon, an Urban Oasis in Istanbul,”, July 6th, 2010.

PHOTOGRAPHYCREDITS All photographs contributed by author unless otherwise noted. All photographs edited by author. Additional photographs courtesy of: Zeeshan Dawood Steven Grootaert Chen Hu Laurie McGinley Hannah Quaid

Buying Istanbul (low res version)  

A personal exploration of the past, present, and future of Istanbul, using the rituals of commerce as the filter through which to interpret...

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