Neither East Nor West

Photo essay: Istanbul has an identity crisis

by Kourosh Alahiari
They say Istanbul is “where East meets West”. In my case, it was where East met East again! This vibrant city is full of contrast and suffers, somewhat, with an identity crisis. It cannot definitively decide whether it is “Eastern” or “Western”. Then again, maybe it has discovered that it can be both?! Perhaps, it knows that there really is no difference. This Eastern and Western thing is perhaps just a line in the sand which Istanbul is trying to erase? One thing is for sure, the earth was not created with East and West in mind! It was created, with all its imperfections, taking everyone into account. Does Istanbul know something we should all know?


projecting your identity crisis onto others

by theconstitutionalist on

Iran's history does include 1400 years of Turkic settlement and over 6000 years of turkic tribal coming and going according to new DNA evidence. 

read some history for god's sake and not just the ones they brain wash children with in Iran and UK.    

So all 200 million of the world's turks have an identity crisis?

You're a xenaphobe and a racist.  Princess probably doesnt even speak turkish, azeri or farsi.  

Farsi has tons of Turkish words and vise versa and you can include Arabic in that too.  Ahmadinejad tried to start a "language purification" program in Iran a few years ago.  They gave up.  They realized a large majority of the vocabulary in Farsi would have to be replaced with new words.     

Who has the identity crisis?  you're trying to white wash yourself as just "persian" when in reality almost everyone in Iran and especially big cities like Tehran, Tabriz, Mashad have mixed blood. 

Denying your own self is the most destructive form of identity crisis there is.

I lived in Istanbul for a year and i can tell you there's no identity crisis with the Turks, but Turkey is a multi-cultural country. 

Just like in Iran where only one language is allowed in the public domain whether in schools, business, govt or art.  The interaction of these cultures has produced something that people like you precieve as inferior because its not homogenous.  Its organic and has elements from all the cultures involved with the strongest influence coming from the locally dominant culture. 

You can even say that about the USA where the white european settlers dominate both the native culture as well as the old slave population and the new immigrants absorbing them by the millions.


Red Wine


by Red Wine on

My question have not been answered, other comments are just toarof:).


Right on

by freed on

Really nice comments. I agree with both yolanda and Princess.



by yolanda on

Nice photos! Thank you for posting! I do consider Turkey "where East meets West" 'cause Turkey is part of NATO, but it is a Mulism country with a secular government!

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

عکس‌ها خوب و جا افتاده هستند اما منظورتان را از اصلِ مطلبی که نگاشتید،درک نکردیم،لطف بفرمایید و توضیح دهید و ما را روشن فرمایید.

با سپاس



Identity crisis

by Princess on

I would argue that Istanbul does not have an identity crisis, but the Turks do. :)

Thanks for sharing your photos of one of my favorite cities in the world.