Istanbul Impressions of a Political Science Student

Istanbul,an overcrowded province of Turkey,is one of the most fantastic city across the world.Its popularity derives from historical,cultural,touristic and architectural means.It is also popular with cosmopolit structure so it hosts millions of people from various types of ideology and worldview.

A night view of Bosphorus

There are two essential ideology which dominate over prominent districts of the city.These are listed as conservatism and secularism.Conservatism will be perfectly examined with the districts of Eyup,Fatih and Uskudar which will be named as the conservative three in following expressions.As for secularism to look at Besiktas,Kadikoy and Beyoglu which will be named as the secular three in the same sense is mostly appropriate for successful assessment.Comparative and also seperately look will be followed.

Eyup Sultan Tomb is one of the most visited place in the conservative three.

On the one hand,conservatism is a political ideology and social philosophy promoting traditional values,practices and institutions.In the conservative three,conservatism has strongly religious dimension and that shapes profoundly lifestyles as well as politics.Having a lot of mosques and shrines such as Eyup Sultan Tomb,Blue Mosque,Mihrimah Sultan Mosque is a shared aspect of the conservative three;that creates widely spiritual atmosphere so population is directly affected by that.

Drinking tea in the face of Maiden’s Tower is common pleasure especially for conservatists.

Activities in the conservative three compared to the secular three are duller due to sensitiveness to the spiritual environment.For example,people often spend time with their family,not with friends like in the secular three,by drinking tea,walking along seaside,talking together,visiting shrines,praying in mosques and so on.

Moreover,people feel peaceful and calm in every months of year but particularly in Ramadan these senses peak.Nearly everybody fast and gather at communal iftar tables during Ramadan.The temporary population in the conservative three during Ramadan increases a lot since people tend to feel more spiritual and engage in religious actions.Finally,it is possible to say that many Ottoman practices are still maintained and protected by the conservatists.

The skyline of historical peninsula in Fatih district cause the spiritual senses to rise.

On the other hand,secularism is a principle emphasizing the seperation of religion from state and equality of different beliefs in front of law.All around the world it ensures the rights of both believers and non-believers.All people are free whether they believe or not and;can’t be exposed to any discrimination or forced to convert.There exists an undeclared commitment o the freedom of expression and belief in the secular three particularly in Kadikoy that is the unique exemplification of civilization.

Freedom Park in Kadikoy is very popular.
Nightlife in Kadikoy is very lively,lots of people drink beers,wines etc. at bars.

People in the secular three keep themselves and their lifestyle apart from religious routine actions a bit by freely drinking beers along seasides,streets;comfortably dressing skirts,t-shirts;taking each other by hand;kissing girlfriends or boyfriends on the streets.

The ferry between Kadikoy and Besiktas has always been the crowdest and it enables the guest to see Haydarpasa Train Station,Maiden’s Tower,historical peninsula with mosques and Bosphorus Bridge during the journey.
Istiklal Street in Taksim/Beyoglu hosts peacefully thousands of people every day.

Nonetheless they fully respect to religious values and devout people.Secularists are more tolerant people than conservatists in terms of their approach to others.For instance,someone can eat in public during Ramadan without any obstacle or exposure to glare.However,the same action would probably be reacted with harsh ways in the conservative three.To be inhabited by diverse ethnic and religious population plays a key role in shaping tolerant characteristic of the secular three.Finally,it is unevitable to get excited and accelaration of pulse when taking a breath in the secular three.

Street musicians and other artistic activities are very common in Kadikoy.
TRT WORLD presents us the outlook of Ramadan practices of Besiktas.

To sum up,two converse ideologies dominate the city and form two different lifestyle.Istanbul,which is a city infinite pieces can be written about,provides an excellent experience for Turkey in the name of pluralist perspective so it can exactly serve as a model for those in which long-standing domestic conflicts run.