ThursdayFiled under News
Since coming to Istanbul more than a decade ago, we have come to associate a loaf of the city’s iconic crusty white bread with satisfying lunches in an esnaf lokantası, using chunks of the humble loaf to sop up whatever was left on our plate. Since Tuesday, though, a loaf of bread has become something else in Istanbul: a symbol of both mourning and protest.
Berkin Elvan was a 14-year-old living in Istanbul’s working-class Okmeydanı neighborhood. On June 16 – at the height of the Gezi Park protests that rocked Istanbul last summer – Berkin went out to buy a loaf of bread. He never came home.
His parents later found him in a hospital, in a coma due to a grievous head injury that his doctors attributed to his being struck at close range by a police tear gas canister (as Human Rights Watch has documented, several other protesters were similarly injured last summer). After spending 269 days in a coma, Berkin died Tuesday, sparking protests across Turkey, where a loaf of bread became a stand-in for the now-departed child.
After his burial today, an event that drew tens of thousands, the police forcibly broke up the procession and Istanbul’s streets were again filled with the acrid smell of tear gas. It’s been almost a year since the Gezi Park protests, but sadly, what animated those events – a general concern for the soul of Istanbul and the direction in which those in charge are taking not just the city but all of Turkey – has yet to be addressed.
We send out our condolences to Berkin’s family. May his soul rest in peace – and may Istanbul’s bread loaves find their way out of the front lines of protest and back to where they belong.
All entries filed under News
no responses - Posted 01.02.14
Turkey’s European Union membership bid may be stuck in the mud, but a different dynamic is at work on the food front. To wit: the European Commission has granted Gaziantep baklava a spot on its list of protected designations of origin and geographical indications. It’s the first Turkish product and ...continue
no responses - Posted 11.04.13
As a chill sets in and heavy clouds roll over Istanbul, turning the Bosphorus battleship gray, we say goodbye to the luscious strawberries and blood-red tomatoes in the market. Fall marks the start of hamsi season, a time when small anchovies fill the nets of fishing boats on the Black ...continue
1 response - Posted 10.11.13
Situated on a geographically blessed spot where the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara meet, Istanbul has long been associated with fishing and, especially, the eating of fish. In culinary terms, after all, is there anything more iconic in Istanbul than eating a freshly grilled fish ...continue
no responses - Posted 07.31.13
We are very proud to have been included in a New York Times article about small group culinary tours that appears on the front page of today’s Dining section. Looking at food walks in Istanbul, Paris, Rome and a few other culinary capitals, the article hails the arrival of a ...continue
no responses - Posted 06.03.13
We generally prefer to keep our nose in a bowl of soup and out of the political arena, but over the weekend, Istanbul’s politics seeped through the cracks in our windows, in the form of teargas and general mayhem. As longtime foreign residents of Istanbul, we’ve found it relatively easy ...continue
no responses - Posted 05.23.13
Istanbul Eats, together with Caravansarai Art Space, is hosting a monthlong celebration of Perşembe Pazarı’s esnaf lokantaları (tradesmen’s restaurants) by launching a competition. And you are invited! The month of June is dedicated to revealing and enjoying the hidden (or sometimes very visible) treasures of Perşembe Pazarı, a hardware-selling neighborhood in ...continue
1 response - Posted 04.26.13
In the realm of Turkey’s small businesses, the esnaf lokantası (tradesmen’s restaurant) hovers above everything like a uniting holy spirit. A good one certainly is divine in nature. Take just about any old esnaf lokantası, and you’re sure to encounter a community that only exists at that particular spot on ...continue
1 response - Posted 02.18.13
As we've previously chronicled, the Tünel end of Istanbul’s famed İstiklal Caddesi was some two years ago the site of a heated burger war. It all started when a former Turkish basketball-player-turned-restaurateur who had spent time studying in California opened up Mano Burger, a mostly successful recreation of the kind ...continue
3 responses - Posted 01.30.13
Being big fans of simit – the sesame-encrusted bread ring that’s one of Turkey’s most popular street foods – we’ve looked on with delight over the last few years as the humble snack has made its way from Istanbul to the other metropolis with a 212 area code: Manhattan. First, ...continue
1 response - Posted 01.14.13
We are unabashedly fanatical in our love of hamsi, or anchovies, a late fall/wintertime specialty whose arrival we eagerly await each year in Istanbul, where the tiny fish are most commonly served pan-fried, grilled or in pilaf. But as any hamsi aficionado knows, for the best anchovy-eating in Turkey one ...continue