It’s the middle of December and we’re taking the longest road possible from the North-East to the South-West corner of Anatolia, through East Turkey, or North Kurdistan, or Western Armenia – depending on who you’re speaking to.
There are a lot more children on the streets of Istanbul. The streets are full of children. There are young girls aged eight or nine begging on the streets. Women cradle young babies in alleyways and street corners, their hands outstretched.
Tarlabaşı Boulevard (pronounced “Tar-la-bash-uh”) runs more or less parallel to the grandiose pedestrianised İstiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue), in the boutique-chic district of Beyoğlu, but no similarity exists between them. Tarlabaşı is like the dark twin of İstiklal. Most Istanbul folk are afraid to even go there, and I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been…
In theory, we have rights. In practice, it’s impossible to access them. Invisible walls are thrown up at every turn.