There is a Turkish song, “I don’t like Istanbul at all anymore” in which a lover laments the lost love. And that reflects my current state of mind. The city that graced the shores of the Bosphorus for centuries, bridging east and west, the melting pot of diverse cultures is being raped and the obscenity continues every day. The erect towers are the symbols of this rape and the cranes serve as some kind of sadistic tools, visible with an alarming frequency. The buildings that emerge under the guise of “economic development” seem to be the result of a special effort to make them look ugly, amorphous, strangely shaped. On top of the seriously lacking aesthetics, they show no planning. With almost deliberate misuse of land, equipment, technology, etc. that the rape turns into a “gang rape.”
Development Needs More Than Construction
Building the foundations of economic development on construction industry under false pretenses is extraordinarily myopic. I have seen multiple towers under construction with streets no wider than 15-20 feet separating them. While that is going on, I have not noticed any new construction of infrastructure to support these new erections. It is awfully heartbreaking to see the beloved city being violently raped, over, and over again, and it is extremely difficult to explain all this with anything other than financial benefit for some. No sane government would allow this sort of “destruction with construction” of their land.
The Language Is Raped Too
And then there is the cultural raping going on all fronts, the fascination with English leading the way. It is amazing to see so much English as store names and in advertisements. They have even changed the name of “home” to “rezidans,” or more often “residence.” To boot, these “residences” fetch unbelievable prices, a flat starting at the low-end around $2-3 million and going up from there. The public seems to have become numb or immune to all this and visit “outlets,” eat at “burger house,” and rest at “coffee shops.” Why do newspapers report the “top ten” of anything? On the one hand, this may appear as aspiration, as if using English is a sign of westernization. On the other hand, it is cultural and linguistic rape under the shadow of the fully erect towers. Amazingly appropriate symbols of these acts.
Narrow Streets Like Canyons Add To Stress
Going out is extremely stressful. The narrow roads carry an incredible amount of vehicles at equally incredible slow speeds. The actions of drivers are generally unpredictable and chaotic. This sense of chaos, sense of disorder has permeated all facets of life. Even in hospital corridors patients move with similar patterns and create a similar chaotic mood. They take numbers to wait for their turns. They then move to the counter way before their turn appears above the workers in clear bright lights. People here have an aversion to GMO in foods they eat but are oblivious to the fact that their genes are being modified every passing moment. The very DNA of the country is being modified and most are oblivious to that or feel totally helpless.
It breaks my heart to see Istanbul being crushed under its own weight, having very little left of her old self while a lot piled on top of her. As the song goes “I don’t like Istanbul at all anymore.”