Back to its Owners: Queering of Istiklal Avenue

“Cities are unpredictable’’ says writer Teju Cole in his book Open City; “Once you give up insisting on stereotypes, you can really start to see’’. Seeing beyond one’s sight is often difficult especially in project-streets like İstiklal which are designed to hide the unwanted with either a secular Western facade or  AKP’s money-drawing-shopping-star-project-district. In both cases, the real makers of the city are sacrificed in the name of formal, structural change.

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Pınar Üzeltüzenci
Repression and Snobbery: the Gentrification of Turkish Rap

This is a reflection of how society is already polarised in terms of morality. This polarisation exists in ideas of taste and status but most importantly in the tendency of privileged circles to guard “their” scene against newcomers. It can be argued that this is contemporary Turkey in a nutshell. The ruling class who had the upper hand in setting cultural norms is now faced with the risk of losing things it took for granted.

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Pınar Üzeltüzenci
Morrissey Isn’t Senile, He’s Always Been a Racist

Morrissey's career has thus far gone unharmed and his views have not been collected. He has an overwhelmingly white fanbase, yet the alternative scene is not adverse to social justice and calling people out. I see a lot of activists in various political realms fighting great fights while failing to confront (or at least distance themselves from) The Problem of Morrissey.

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Darya Rustamova
Out Their Asses: Discourses on Sex Work in Kiev, Beirut and Istanbul

At that moment I realized that abolitionist laws — which were primarily pushed by the American Christian Right and were later adopted by Western feminist schools — are now being lobbied for by middle class feminist activists from developing countries who care little about actually protecting women, but would rather turn to the West for their moral compass.

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Sara Shamas
The Fault in our Symbols: Turkish Culture Wars in Context

In the 1930’s, the Turkish state usurped the Surp Agop cemetery in Istanbul. Tombstones from the cemetery were used to construct the National radio station headquarters and the stairs for the famous Gezi park. Why is this act of violence forgotten? Why does symbolic oppression often take precedence over real violence and injustice?

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Efe Levent