Archive for October, 2004

Another side of helplessness in Istanbul

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A research conducted by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce has lifted the veil on a growing problem in Turkey — the growing prostitution due to the country’s economic troubles and widespread poverty.

Prostitution is legal in Turkey: The women working in the industry are expected to be registered and licenced by the police. But the reality is far beyond the regulations. Many women are not employed in a registered brothel and work in hotels and private homes.

For example, according to the study, Istanbul has, at least, hundreds of illegally underage sex workers… Furthermore, researchers noted, there has been an influx of women from Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Belarus to Istanbul.

The study estimated there are as many as 100,000 prostitutes in Turkey, 30,000 of whom are waiting to obtain licenses.

Fifty-six brothels are in operation, employing 3,000 women; an additional 15,000 prostitutes are registered with the police.
“There is an annual turnover of around 3 billion euros in the prostitution sector in Turkey. And brothel keepers, barpersons, nightclubs, hotel owners and taxi drivers all get a slice of the cake. That is to say, hundreds of thousands of people earn a living by prostitution,” the report says…

Code Name: Istanbul

This news is not exactly for the citizens, but totally about Istanbul..

Microsoft introduced its application that integrates e-mail, instant messaging, video conferencing, traditional phone service and Internet-based calling, the product is code-named ISTANBUL.

Turkish developers working for the project influenced for the name of course. Such a nice link between Seattle and Istanbul ;)

The Art of Brewery



The only brewery in the most luxurious district in Istanbul, Tesvikiye, Taps has opened the new winter season last saturday. As a resident of Tesvikiye, it was my duty to check out the new menu.

In Taps, brewery begins from the top floor and the beer is served from the bar located in the entrance floor. 2nd and 3rd floors are reserved as restaurant and guests can watch the brewery process behind the glass walls.

Taps offers salads, pizza, grill and pasta as well as non-alcohol drinks, wine and -of course- daily beer. Taps also serves their delicious beer in takeaway growler. You can visit their website (only in Turkish) here.

Ramadan Art

During Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, the city changes a lot. The traffic is a mess before iftar, the meal for breaking the fast, with everyone trying to get home as soon as possible, shopkeepers hold community meals together with their workers in front of the shops when the weather is fine, and municipalities set up special areas where the poor can eat for free.

The big mosques are illuminated at night and religious maxims are written on the ropes stretched between the minarets of mosques; a Ramadan art called mahya. They are mostly sayings like “The Sultan of 11 months,” “Fast and You’ll Be Healthy”, etc. I spotted this one yesterday in Uskudar. It says “Hakikati Ara” meaning “Search for the Truth!” Obscure in all senses of the word.

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eating lokal

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Lokal, a so-called fusion restaurant in Asmalimescit/Tunel, serves specialities from Indian, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese and Turkish cuisine. More interesting than the food is the decoration mirroring the fusion-spirit with robot-toys on the tables, a huge cactus surrounded by candles wrapped in paper containers, another fellow robot and a blinking red lampshade – a fine example of kitsch. A movie is being screened on the big screen mounted on the wall outside the restaurant, it was some movie of woody harrelson when i was there. the ladies room donwstairs is all in red with a giant round mirror which makes you look a lot thinner than you really are, an undefineable radio-like apparatus mounted on the wall and most importantly, a huge blackboard for those who want to spit out their thoughts as well.

soup.jpg the menu cards are stuck into sleeves of pop albums of the 70ies and as the font is too small to be read in the dim lighting, you just order the meal with the most strange name. i chose a soup called Tom Ka Gai, coconut chicken soup, of which i do not have an image. very spicy and almost purple in color, it was indeed the most interesting soup i ever ate. next you see the soup my friend ordered, the name of which i do not remember, but the lighting (notice the lighter flame on the upper right corner) of which is provided by none other than me. To sum it up, it is very dim in lokal, i like robot toys and the huge cactus in front of the window is a pain in the ass as it prevents us from seeing the movie. and oh, candles wrapped in paper make me uncomfortable.

Indigo Music Hall

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Finally Istanbul has a new venue for electronic music lovers. We’ve been expecting this for a long time. Although there are lots of venues and clubs serving for Istanbul’s massive club scene, indigo is a little bit more like a performing center which is promising for fantastic electronic live acts as well as Dj performances.

Summer 2004 was the summer of Posh bosphorus clubs playing cheesy Turkish pop blended with beach and latin house tunes and so called gay clubs without an actual gay crowd but serving for curious heterosexuals and young females desparetely trying to find out what’s going on with some cheap techno music coming from the speakers. But thank god this winter we’ll be able to hear something good and thank god again it’s just 70 metres away from my flat so I’ll be able to change my clothes if an ecstasy jerk spill his water on me or a beer guy – with a belly looks totally unnatural under his tight shirt and waiting his next life to discover pot – pukes on me.

Here are the gems of October

October 8 / Zoot Woman
October 15 / Gerard Presencer
October 16 / Martini Br�s. Live “Love The Machines” World Tour
October 22 / Rebel Moves
October 23 / Baxter
October 29 / Dani Sicilano Fauna Flash
October 30 / Jori Hulkkonen (guest resident)

they never stop celebrating

the traffic might be a huge problem in a chaotic and huge city like istanbul. as an inhabitant living here for about 3 years, i am accustommed to wasting a quarter of my precious time in traffic. but, when the city municipality ignores this and decides to close the vatan avenue (one of the most busy avenues on the european side) to traffic to celebrate the liberation of istanbul, they get on my nerves.

On October the 6th, a trip which would only take half an hour under normal conditions took 1.5 hours on a public bus fully loaded with passengers who were sweating with stress and bickering at each other and none of whom gave a damn about the celebrations. In fact, on public holidays they may celebrate whatever they want and close the streets to traffic but when they do it on a busy day, they get on our nerves. As an older passenger commented: “They never stop celebrating.”

Cats & Dogs Are Raining…

Some parts of Istanbul are under flood at the very moment. Traffic is a big mess and people couldn’t arrive their offices (12.48), and the best thing to sell at the moment is (no, not umbrellas) socks. I wished I could take a photo but I have my reasons… :)

Hot Spot

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I was so sure that I would find a new place with the same view but with a little more luxury ( a proper heating system perhaps?) when I decided to move my place 2 months ago. Well, I couldn’t. Although I offered the double of what I pay here, I couldn’t. It seems like Cihangir and Galata have become one of the most popular spots of Der Saadet(1) while I’ve been partying and chilling out in front of this exciting view which is 1000+ years old. The funny thing is, people used to be afraid of this area when I first moved here because of its bad reputation. Now they ask for astronomical rents for totally fucked up places just because they have sea view if you lean from toilet window and look left.

(1) Der Saadet: According to me, it’s the best known name of istanbul. it sounds so… err hedonistic :)

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