in the second part of the do you know istanbul series, let’s talk about the bridges. there are two bridges between asia and europe fatih sultan mehmet bridge and the bosphorus bridge. how do we know which bridge we are on? when you are in the car look at the cables if they are parallel to each other you are on the fatih sultan mehmet bridge. if they are v-shaped, you are on the bosphorus bridge.
the face on the portrait is mehmet tarhan‘s and the placard held by two on the right reads: “mehmet is bored inside. we are taking him out for a walk in istanbul.” mehmet cannot attend the tour as he is currently being held in jail for he refuses to render military service: he is a conscientious objector. this protest-trip was made yesterday by a small group. savas karsitlari (turkish anti-militarist site) has dedicated a page to him, the details of mehmet’s arrestment can be found there. mehmet tarhan’s trial will take place on April 28th; those who would like to support him may sign the protest mail here at war resisters’ international’s subsite “refuse to kill”.
*baris is a male name in turkish and means “peace”. the slogan “mehmet loves baris” is apt, as mehmet tarhan is gay, and antimilitarist.
When finely chopped meat roasted in water and fat is wrapped in a thin sheet of dough, a miracle called Tantuni is born. For some, the weird name stems from the sound (Tan-Tun) the wooden spoon makes when it hits the container whilst stirring the meat. Thanks God, the sound is not something like Hart-Hurt, then the kebap would be named Harthurti. Tantuni is served with hot pepper pickles or finely sliced radish.
Mostly all nights of excessive alcohol consumption in Taksim end up in a Tantuni place and one cannot get enough of Tantuni. The cook who delivers the most delicious Tantuni in Taksim is Suat Usta (Suat, the chef) who has migrated to Istanbul from Mersin, the hometown of Tantuni.
He used to have a little shop with only two stools; now he has expanded the business with a few more stools. He is distinguished from other chefs with his slender figure (most Turkish cooks have big, fat bellies.) I find it fascinating that such a thin man can cook so well. Long live Tantuni.
There’s nothing like the Istanbul subway. We now have it for about 3-4 years and it’s an experience to be had.
First of all, there is the security issue. The security cameras placed everywhere do not record anything. Only one of all 100 people carrying bags are searched thoroughly (yeah, we all got a bit paranoid after the bombings last year). Then, there are the passengers who constantly try to pass over the yellow line and the security staff warning them to stay back in a very unfriendly manner. Bored of waiting for the train, when you try to watch the ads on the metrovision, the huge Exit sign blocks your field of view. An alternative to that would be watching the passengers on the other platform, who all try to find the Exit sign helplessly. When the train arrives, the battle between those who try to get off and on takes place and adds to the joy.