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Istanbul at the crossroad (7)

(People's Daily Online)

13:55, March 21, 2012

Historic spice Bazaar (Andre Vltchek/ People's Daily Online)

So where is Istanbul going? One of the greatest cities on earth, one of the mightiest imperial capitals of the past eras, it is once again flexing its intellectual muscle. Its tremendous beauty and respect for the men and women of letters is attracting thinkers from all over the world. This is the place to discuss the world politics or from where to embark on a journey to Iraq, Syria or Iran, or where to study history of the Balkans.

Latin America is tremendously influential here, through its recent revolutions, but also through the music and culture. Russia is geographically as well as intellectually close and well-established and known here. China has so far been failing to make inroads, to influence Istanbul and the entire Turkey. This is very unfortunate, as there is great interest here in the Chinese political and economic model.

The truth is that Turkey in general and Istanbul in particular could go in many different directions. Nothing is decided yet; nothing determined. Secular or Islamic, capitalist or socialist – the future is open.

What is certain is that the importance of this phenomenal city is once again growing. Istanbul is the center where most of the discussions are taking place. And it is very likely that the future of the nation will be decided here.

Andre Vltchek ( – novelist, filmmaker, investigative journalist, presently working and resigning in East Asia and Africa. Three of his books had been translated and published in Turkey. Turkish media is often interviewing him. He is often visiting Istanbul where he works on his fiction books.

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