Why İstanbul Voices?

Standing by the side of a road in İstanbul the city roars with emptiness, bankruptcy and fullness. This city is a “bank of ideas”; a forum of exchange in the middle of the world. İstanbul Voices is a blog like İstanbul itself. We bring together locals and foreigners, artists and workers, the young, the old, the poor and the unheard.

7 Yorum

  1. Melissa Mae-Thompson söylüyor:


    I lived and worked in Istanbul for a year and a half. I met a lot of interesting characters, some I now call friends 😉

    Istanbul has a lot to offer. I left because, although Istanbul has a lot to offer, it still has a an extremely long way to go!

    • Sean David Hobbs söylüyor:

      Thanks for the comment Melissa… I think everywhere has long ways to go but there is a funky snapping energy of Istanbul which only can be equaled in other “World Cities” such as New York, Istanbul, Cairo and perhaps only 10 other cities on earth.

  2. James söylüyor:


    Some places have a lot further to go than other and Istanbul is one of them. I’m a photographer and journalist and spent two years in Istanbul. It is not a ‘world city’ as it is still developing and does not understand change. Truely worldly citites such as New York, London and Paris put Istanbul to shame as they understand the power of a multicultural society. Whereas Istanbul is still stuck in the dark ages struggling to adapt to change it is not ready for!

    • Sean David Hobbs söylüyor:


      This city has grown from under a million in 1950 to close to 17 million in 2012. That seems like a huge amount of change to me. It is a point of exchange between cultures from Bosnia to Kurdistan. From the Arab World to central Asia there are people here speaking different languages and having new traditions. Are the people mostly Turkish? Sure. But then what is a “turk”? Even in Turkey the differences from one region to another among Turkish people are much more stark than English in England or French in France.

      I think when you write cultural change you are referring to new immigrants from around the world. Sure Istanbul is not a wealthy city such as London, Paris or New York. The economies of those cities are bigger than Istanbul and those cities attract immediate immigration from China, West Africa and all points in between.

      But Istanbul is a regional magnet of new and different cultures. It even brings in many undocumented African workers which is a story we are covering closely on istanbulvoices.org … You can’t really expect Istanbul to be New York or Paris because of the concentration of wealth along the North Atlantic region. However Istanbul can easily be a “world city” in the same way Sao Paulo, Rio, Mexico City, Lagos and Cairo are all world cities!

  3. Maxwell söylüyor:

    I have to agree with James and Melissa. I’ve traveled many places and lived in a few places as well, namely Paris, London, Rio and Prague. I’ve been here in Istanbul for the past 2 years and think the racism here is disgusting. My girlfriend is of Afro-Asian-European mixed background, dresses respectfully and is always being asked ‘how much, how much?’ by Turkish men who address her as an ‘Arab’ on a regular basis.

    It’s a pity Istanbul is not the multicultural city it wants to be!


    • Sean David Hobbs söylüyor:

      There is unquestionably an ignorant villager macho-ness to Turkish masculinity which is nothing close to “international” or “cosmopolitan” or “progressive.” Much of this narrow world view is tied, I think, to the concept of “blood based Turkish nationality” which came out of the Turkish War of Independence (1919 – 1923).

      However, to condemn Istanbul to “the dark ages” is not spot on either. Turkey and Istanbul are growing into the ideal of being not just a one state “Turkey for Turks” but instead a culture and nation and city with newly formed ngos and a slow but growing concept of “civil society.”

      With as many confusing and head scratching problems as this country and city faces one still has to be encouraged by recent developments in the past 15 or so years.

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