Wednesday, 31 March 2021


Istanbul: Against all odds @ Timurtaş Onan

In the fall of 2006, I taught English in Istanbul, for two months. I had not prepared myself for this assignment, didn’t know anything about the city or Turkish culture. To be sure, I was not free of preconceptions like that Turkey was a country dominated by bearded men and women had not much to say. Needless to say, I was in for a surprise. Well, Istanbul is not Turkey but one of these modern cosmopolitan cities where elegantly clad women work in all sorts of professions. One of my students was a professor of child psychiatry who gave lectures at universities in the US. Why you want to take classes with me?, I wondered. In order to keep up with my hyper-active colleagues from Michigan, she smiled.

In other words, I have pictures in my head when looking at Timurtaş Onan’s Istanbul books. That he has another view of his native city than the visitor, isn’t exactly a surprise. Neither is it astonishing that quite a few pics arouse familiar feelings in me, especially the ones showing the ferries that I often took – Istanbul is divided by the Bosporus, also known as the Strait of Istanbul, a waterway that separates Europe and Asia. 

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