Life As a French Lesbian in Istanbul

I am a woman living in Istanbul and lately, I’ve been coming across a lot of articles titled “Why I left Turkey,” or some variation of that, in the local press. And since I moved here from Paris, every single person I know keeps asking me why the hell I did that. Oh, and did I mention I like girls?

According to the people I meet and hang out with in Istanbul, Turkey is currently sinking into a reactionary state thanks to the AKP—the conservative ruling party. In recent years, the rights of women, homosexuals, and basically anyone who doesn’t fit Tayyip Erdogan’s Ottoman fantasy have waned significantly. This is evident if you follow local politics, but also when you just walk on the street.

Since I moved to Istanbul in 2013, I have been followed in the street at least three times—both in a busy street in the afternoon as well as on a emptier one at night. A few times I have been insulted, and a few more times people have laid their hands on me. But the context of these misfortunes doesn’t really matter. The point is I haven’t spent one day in Istanbul without feeling objectified.



"Genocide denial can have a double impact. Survivors of genocide, and their children and grandchildren, feel the worthlessness in contempt and inferiority that the initial perpetrators intended and it incites admiration to those perpetrators and a dangerous desire to emulate them."

So many excellent quotes, I could hardly choose. Please watch this speech—it is very strong, moving, and eloquent. 

The independence struggle after World War I was waged in order to “safeguard the national rights of Anatolia and Rumelia” and the leaders of the resistance, including Mustafa Kemal Pasha, made a conscious effort to identify Anatolia as the historic home of the Turks, whose earth had been coloured red by the blood of the “martyrs” since the first Turkish conquest in 1071. Emotional appeals were made to the populations to defend the fatherland. After the proclamation of the republic, the cult of Anatolia persisted and, particularly in the 1930s, the old Anatolian civilizations, such as that of the Hittites, were claimed as Turkish, thus staking out a historical claim to the territory older than that of the Greeks, Armenians, Arabs, or Kurds.

The adaptation of Anatolia as the true homeland of the Turks went deep, and it was a feeling shared even by many who were not Kemalists. Turkey’s most famous modern poet, Nazim Hikmet Ran, a communist and an internationalist who many times fell afoul of the Kemalist authorities, spent years in Turkish prisons and died in Moscow, in one of his best-known and loved poems, Vasiyet (Testament), expresses his wish to be buried in an Anatolian village:

Comrades, if I am not granted to see that day / If I should die before freedom comes / Lift me up and carry me / Bury me in an Anatolian village cemetery.

The poet who wrote these lines in 1953 was born in Salonica in 1902 and first set foot in Anatolia when he was 18 years old (and left again for Russia after nine months)!

—  Erik J. Zürher, The Young Turk Legacy and Nation Building: From the Ottoman Empire to Atatürk’s Turkey, pg 121 

Turli tava (vegetable and meat stew) has its name origin in Turkish words turli meaning mixed and tava, a pottery dish. Its a common main course dish for Macedonia and the rest of the southern Balkans. Turli tava is made out of potatoes, rice, okra, eggplant, carrots, peppers, pork, beef or lamb. All these ingredients are mixed and baked in an oven in a traditional pottery dish (tava).

anonymous asked:

So Kevin has visited my country Turkey for a play in 2011 (too bad I wasn't a fan of him then) and he has a photo that was taken in Taksim Square (one of the most famous places of the city, maybe you've heard of it) and last summer I went there with my brother & stood in the exact same place and had my picture taken! That probably was the closest I'll ever get to Kevin but it's still a cute memory for me haha

This photo is probably the closest I’ll ever get to Turkey ;)