This is Yani. (Yani means "uhh, you know" in Turkish). Now, let me start by saying if you're the type who thinks that questioning the official view of things is insulting Turkishness, then we are definitely not for you. Go away. We are uncensored, unabridged, and un-dumbed down. We'll print any whack job, whether crazy left or crazy right, as long as you have a basic respect for the opinions and lives of others. So, if you feel the need to scream death threats at us or shoot anyone, please, just check yourself straight into the mental hospital or high security prison and leave us the hell alone. We want a healthy debate, a free exchange of ideas. So argue, yell, question, but don't be psychotic. And as those who really insult Turkishness, if you're hoping we'll write in that smarmy Lonely Planet style that slyly makes fun of Turkey or talk about how Turks can't make a proper pizza, or if you never leave the confines of Beyoğlu because it's just so European, well, we are also not for you. This is Turkey, ladies and gentlemen. It's different here and no one has to apologize for it. In fact, it's an amazing place to be, and not because of the Aya Sofia or any of that other tourist marketing crap, but because the people of Turkey make up a vibrant, living society of which we are a small part. So we don't feel like focusing on the typical bitchy things we foreigners moan about at bars. We don't care, we don't care, and we don't care. This webzine is for people, especially English speakers living in Turkey, to actually get involved a little in what's happening here. There really isn't a magazine like that in Istanbul right now, print or otherwise. So buckle up, babies, hopefully, we can live up to the aforementioned hype and give you something to suck on. And if we screw up, let us know..

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Smoke In Our Eyes

            Is it just another inevitably fruitless government attempt at gaining some semblance of respect in the endlessly admonitory gaze of the European Union or is the current theocracy simultaneously killing the party and the all-important culture of critical discourse that occurs daily in the hundreds of cafes, coffeehouses, and bars that line this city?
The Prime Minister announced a "Kurdish Initiative" in August and the country has been abuzz ever since.  The "Kurdish Issue" has been a long standing problem in Turkey, but it can be confusing for the outsider.  Just who are the Kurds, and what's their beef with the government and the government's beef with them?  Our Kurdish friend sheds some light on the issue in a two part article from the Kurdish point of view.

August 11th, 2009 was a very important day in Turkish history. On that day, Prime Minister Erdogan gave a speech which marked the beginning of a new era both in Turkey and in the Middle East.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sport--The Big Three, a Dispassionate View

The Canaries, The Eagles, and the Lions

Everyone knows that there’s only one sport worth talking about in Istanbul, and that is of course ‘Futbol’. Istanbul is a dream for football fans as it is always ok to talk about it. You may be with friends, students, your boss, barmen, randoms on the ferry, or even your girlfriend (yes really!), and it’s absolutely fine to bring up the topic of who’s going to win the Superlig, the upcoming/last weekend’s fixtures, or ‘Are the big 3 any good, or is everyone else just complete rubbish?’

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Jinn, We created him before, from the flaming fire. Quran 15:27

Continued below...

Kim Ki O? Kim Ki O.

This (mostly) interview is with Kim Ki O, a band whose name means “who is that anyway?”  From what I’ve discovered in my year and a half here, this musical duo is on the frontiers of underground music in Istanbul. 

My Second First Impressions of Istanbul

My first view of Istanbul in 2007 brought with it giant red flags fluttering on sides of buildings and giant words in a language I learned two or three words of before my arrival.  I found myself on a long stretch of highway in a van that held three people –

A Non-Moment with Leonard Cohen

On Thursday August 5, 2009, I went alone to the second of two Leonard Cohen concerts in Istanbul.  It was in Harbiye at Cemil Topuzlu Açıkhava Sahnesi, an outdoor amphitheatre.  By eleven o’clock that evening, an audience of four thousand had been wooed through two hours of our own cheers and tears.

THE BLESSED.....AND THE DAMNED!!!! A Restaurant Review

We've all been screwed at Turkish restaurants. Here is a guide to help you steer clear of the crooks and enjoy the gems.

Serbians Storm the Istanbul Biennial

In Karaköy, tucked into a corner on a street sloping steeply down from Bankalar Street, is the unassuming BM Suma Gallery. The Suma is one of the chillest galleries in Istanbul. It's modest, it's humble, and it's hidden in a dense sea of shops selling hoses, electriccords, wires, screws, and nails.

Travel in the East

Among the Ruins in Kurdistan

The little red Russian Lada rattles as the wind whistles in through cracks in the window. A lone, gorgeous, female baritone billygoats up and down the notes of the Turkish musical scale accompanied only by the occasional heart beat of a drum.