The gradual closure of Turkey’s 52 state-run brothels is emerging as a controversial tactic in Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s declared war on prostitution. While Erdoğan’s supporters denounce brothels as a form of “slavery,” sex workers fear the campaign poses risks to their health and safety.
Health tourism can be a hairy business anywhere, but for Turkey this is literally the case. Hair transplants have been a cornerstone of the country’s billion-dollar-plus medical-tourism market for more than a decade. But recently, a growing number of medical tourists, especially Middle Eastern men, have been traveling to Turkey specifically for facial hair implants.
A debate in Turkey over abortion is growing increasingly heated. But, unlike earlier controversies sparked by the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party’s reform initiatives, the opposing camps in the abortion battle do not necessarily fall along secular-versus-religious lines.
More than 40 years ago, Kirkor Çapan, an ethnic Armenian, and his father set up what today is one of the last Christian funeral homes still operating in Istanbul. But the funeral parlor is not a religious island unto itself. With so few Christians left in Turkey, the stonemasons and carpenters working with Çapan are Muslim Turks.
In its 1,700-year-old history, Hagia Sophia in the northwestern town of Iznik has witnessed many turning points. In 787, as a Byzantine church, it housed the Second Council of Nicaea, which restored the veneration of icons to Christianity.
The Turkish women’s magazine Âlâ first gained notice in the summer of 2011 by putting the most controversial piece of fabric in Turkey, the Islamic headscarf, on its cover. Four months later, Turkish secularists and traditional Muslims alike are still debating: Can fashion and Islam comfortably coexist?
In 1972, Yorgo Güller, a Greek Christian from Istanbul, visited leafy Burgazada, one of the Princes’ Islands just off the city’s coast, looking for love. Almost forty years later, he is still there tending to a neglected, 18th-century Greek monastery.
The June 12 election triumph of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party not only signaled a political change. It also heralded the start of evictions within the central, working-class Istanbul neighborhood of Tarlabaşı to make way for an ambitious municipal government project to beautify the city.