Thursday, August 21st, 2014

The Shoemakers of Gedikpaşa

During my first days in Istanbul last month, I found myself navigating through expanses of Istanbul’s subway system so new that they did not appear in my 2013 transit map. A few days later, the country's new bullet-train service, connecting Istanbul to Ankara, was launched by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the prime minister and presumed favorite in Turkey's upcoming presidential elections, to well-orchestrated fanfare. Election campaign hyperbole aside, the country's thriving economy and growing confidence in its future was evident in the ambitious infrastructure projects—bridges, tunnels, canals, airports—and large-scale construction that seemed to be remaking the entire city. (It was also evident in Erdoğan’s decisive victory at the polls [...]