Today when I was walking down Istiklal I thought a lot about why Istiklal street got to be the way it is, that is so abundant with international chains like McDonald’s, H&M, and Starbucks. I know globalization is in inevitable in almost every major city in the world.
Istikal street and Taksim are parallel to a significantly less affluent neighborhood, Tarlabasi. Many of the migrants from the refugee center live there and I’ve heard some terrible stories about it. There’s a lot of construction projects going on in Tarlabasi I can’t help but feel the familiar wave of gentrification making it’s way through. This makes me think about a Afghani refugee I met named Zubaida and here family, where is she and her children going to live now?
It feels hypocritical of me to complain about the gentrification of Tarlabasi when I’m inadvertently causing it in my own adopted neighborhood of Ortakoy. I’ve never seen more luxury cars before until I moved to Istanbul. It’s hard for me to believe that most of this city survives on less than $1,000 a month. Fortunately we’re going to learn about the Turkish economy and its policies in the upcoming week.