Hillary Clinton seeks to smooth Islamic defamation row with OIC

July 15, 2011

(U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu (L) in Istanbul July 15, 2011/Murad Sezer)

Istanbul celebrates carnival after nearly 70 years

March 9, 2011
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(Istanbul celebrates carnival, 7 March 2011/all photos by Jonathan Lewis)

Istanbul’s tiny Greek community has revived an all-but-extinct tradition by celebrating Bakla Horani, an evening of carousing at the end of carnival ahead of Lent. About 300 masked, painted and costumed revelers paraded on Monday through the streets of Istanbul’s Kurtulus district, known as Tatavla when it was home to Greeks decades ago.

Masses mourn at funeral of Turkish Islamist leader Erbakan

March 1, 2011
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(Mourners surround the coffin of Turkey's former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan at his funeral in Istanbul March 1, 2011/Osman Orsal )

Amid row with Israel, Turkish officials attend Istanbul Holocaust Day

January 31, 2011
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Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva and Istanbul Governor Avni Mutlu light a candle at Neve Shalom Synagogue to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day/Murad Sezer

Dracula goes dry as Turkey’s new drink rules bite

January 20, 2011

draculaGuests at the Istanbul premiere of a new vampire film were among the first victims of new curbs on alcohol that have raised secularist fears Islamic strictures may be encroaching on everyday life.

Allah’s tailors gaining profile in Turkey with chic headscarves

By Alexandra Hudson
November 11, 2010

headscarves (Photo: Women in headscarves in the Taksim area of Istanbul July 13, 2008/Morteza Nikoubazl)

Along Istanbul’s busy Eminönü waterfront, women swathed in dark coats and scarves knotted once under the chin jostle past others clad in vivid colors and head coverings carefully sculpted around the face. Two decades ago such a polished, pious look scarcely existed in Turkey. But today it has the highest profile exponents in First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s wife Emine, and the brands behind it plan ambitious expansion.

Turkey’s dwindling Christians fear end is approaching

October 15, 2010

turkey christian (Photo: Andreas Zografos at St Nicholas Church in Heybeliada island near Istanbul October 10, 2010/Osman Orsal)

Andreas Zografos left Turkey in 1974 amid economic and political turmoil to find work in Europe, but he always knew he would return home. “The ties of this land are strong. I was drawn back by the blue of the sea, the colour of the sky,” he says.

Room with a view: Orhan Pamuk explores Istanbul’s double soul

September 30, 2010

pamuk (Photo: Orhan Pamuk at the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, November 28, 2009/Alejandro Acosta)

From his Istanbul window, the Nobel-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk sees a city in flux.

Catholics and Orthodox report promising progress in latest round of unity talks

September 24, 2010

cathorth 1Roman Catholic and Orthodox theologians reported promising progress on Friday in talks on overcoming their Great Schism of 1054 and bringing the two largest denominations in Christianity back to full communion. Experts meeting in Vienna this week agreed the two could eventually become “sister churches” that recognize the Roman pope as their titular head but retain many church structures, liturgy and customs that developed over the past millennium.

Art show in historic Istanbul Orthodox seminary stirs hope of reopening

September 7, 2010

halkiAn Istanbul seminary closed in 1971 is hosting its first public event in 40 years, raising hopes it may shortly be reopened by Turkey and once again educate priests for the Greek Orthodox community.