2017: #We Are Already Reina

 

I didn’t read any book at all last night: I fell asleep early, and to my surprise slept deeply until mid-morning. After all that sleep, I woke up feeling great. Finally over that cold. I thought, “What a good start to 2017!” I didn’t check the news or my mail; instead I went out for coffee and a walk. Paris was waking up slowly, glittering with Christmas and New Year’s decorations, beautiful like a jewel, and I thought, “I love this city.

Sometimes I’m not sure. I’ve never stopped loving Istanbul, and I’ve never really gotten over it.

Paris sometimes feels like a tiny, provincial outpost in remote northern Europe by comparison. But this morning I was enraptured with it. “Yes, it’s a village compared to Istanbul,” I thought, “but it’s uniquely beautiful in its own way, and what’s more, it’s mine.” It’s a village overlayed with my memories, with my family’s memories, one where I know all the shopkeepers in my neighborhood, all the bakers and fruit-sellers, all the lamp posts, the way the street changes from morning to afternoon to evening. I was happy and my heart was lifted with optimism for the year.

When I got back I checked my mail. Some messages were from friends wishing me a happy New Year. Then there was one that read, “Happy New Year, Sweetie. Needless to say I was not at Reina.” 

He didn’t need to write more. I knew from the message that Reina had entered the list of places. The Dolphinarium. The Bataclan. Now Reina.

Not even a day and 2017 has its first massacre.

I’d never go to Reina on my own. Too expensive, music too loud. But if you’d visited me when I was living in Istanbul, and if I knew you were on an expense account, I might have taken you there. It would be high on my list of places — top five, say — to take visitors who were only in the city for a day or two and who needed to be dazzled.

It’s even possible I took @patsajak there, now that I think about it. (Did we go there, Pat?) I know he and I went for a walk in the neighborhood, Ortaköy. This is what you’d see there.

But the photographs can’t really convey the grandeur of that view and the history of that neighborhood, which you can feel when you’re there:

Ortaköy (literally Middle Village in Turkish; in Greek was known as Agios Focàs, in Byzantine period and Mesachori later, meaning “middle village”) is a neighbourhood, formerly a small village, within the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul, Turkey, located in the middle of the European bank of the Bosphorus.

Ortaköy was a cosmopolitan area during the Ottoman era and the first decades of the Turkish Republic, with communities of Turks, Greeks, Armenians and Jews. Today the neighbourhood still hosts many different religious (Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox, and other Christian) structures. It is also a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, with its art galleries, night clubs, cafés, bars, and restaurants. …

Reina’s one of those places where you’d sit with friends from out of town and, dazzled by the Bosphorus and its skyline, think, “This city makes every other city seem like a village.” You’d watch your friends’ faces with pleasure because no one ever forgets the first time they see that skyline. Seeing someone see that for the first time is a delight of Istanbul in itself. 

I see the hashtag  on Twitter. It’s true. I’m Istanbul, and so are so many people. The city is part of me, forever.

 

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Members have made 22 comments.

  1. Profile photo of Kozak Coolidge

    So sad I now have to take Istanbul off the list of places to visit. I was just getting a feel for it in the few trips I made there while working in Saudi. I had hoped to take my family, to show them the Golden Horn, the Spice Market and Grand Bazaar. Walk the Land Walls and feel that moment when the classical world died. I had just scratched the surface of that gigantic city, let alone Turkey. Hopefully the madness will pass, the Turks will regain their senses and turn from the Islamist nightmare, and I will feel safe traveling there with my loved ones.

    • #1
    • January 1, 2017 at 2:52 am
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  2. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Kozak (View Comment):
    So sad I now have to take Istanbul off the list of places to visit. I was just getting a feel for it in the few trips I made there while working in Saudi. I had hoped to take my family, to show them the Golden Horn, the Spice Market and Grand Bazaar. Walk the Land Walls and feel that moment when the classical world died. I had just scratched the surface of that gigantic city, let alone Turkey. Hopefully the madness will pass, the Turks will regain their senses and turn from the Islamist nightmare, and I will feel safe traveling there with my loved ones.

    Don’t take it off the list. The odds of becoming a victim are still tiny. You’ll never be 100 percent safe. I’d go. I’d take my family, too. I wouldn’t go some places in Turkey right now, but I’d go to Istanbul.

    • #2
    • January 1, 2017 at 3:00 am
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  3. Profile photo of Kozak Coolidge

    Claire Berlinski, Ed. (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):
    So sad I now have to take Istanbul off the list of places to visit. I was just getting a feel for it in the few trips I made there while working in Saudi. I had hoped to take my family, to show them the Golden Horn, the Spice Market and Grand Bazaar. Walk the Land Walls and feel that moment when the classical world died. I had just scratched the surface of that gigantic city, let alone Turkey. Hopefully the madness will pass, the Turks will regain their senses and turn from the Islamist nightmare, and I will feel safe traveling there with my loved ones.

    Don’t take it off the list. The odds of becoming a victim are still tiny. You’ll never be 100 percent safe. I’d go. I’d take my family, too. I wouldn’t go some places in Turkey right now, but I’d go to Istanbul.

    If I can convince the wife I will, but her risk tolerance (especially with the kids) is lower then mine. I really want to get to Troy and Cappadocia too.

    • #3
    • January 1, 2017 at 3:13 am
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  4. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    Claire, so awful, hope all your friends are safe. I don’t know what these people are thinking of [CoC]ing off the Turks like this.

    More basely, I’m still cross that I hadn’t ‘met’ you when I went to Istanbul. Which was, as one would assume of the city of the world’s desire, güzel, güzel, çok çok çok güzel.

    I would still go there tomorrow given a chance.

    • #4
    • January 1, 2017 at 3:15 am
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  5. Profile photo of Jason Turner Member

    New year but nothing much has changed. This seems to becoming a common occurrence in Turkey very sad for the Turkish people.

    • #5
    • January 1, 2017 at 3:21 am
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  6. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Kozak (View Comment):
    If I can convince the wife I will, but her risk tolerance (especially with the kids) is lower then mine.

    That’s understandable, of course. I’d say the real risk of being killed by a terrorist in Istanbul, still, is less than the risk of dying in a car accident or an earthquake. (Both risks are unusually high in Istanbul.) The city is so huge, and every day, 15 million people there aren’t killed by terrorists. But if the thought is weighing on her, it could ruin the pleasure she’d take in the visit, so I understand thinking, “Let’s not.”

    • #6
    • January 1, 2017 at 3:25 am
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  7. Profile photo of Jason Turner Member

    Last I heard the police are yet to catch the killer. So sadly there could be more violence to come.

    • #7
    • January 1, 2017 at 3:28 am
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  8. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Jason Turner (View Comment):
    Last I heard the police are yet to catch the killer. So sadly there could be more violence to come.

    Yes. Americans there have been advised by the embassy to shelter in place.

    • #8
    • January 1, 2017 at 4:58 am
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  9. Profile photo of genferei Member

    Perhaps this year we can replace the #IAmVictim hashtag with something else.

    • #9
    • January 1, 2017 at 5:37 am
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  10. Profile photo of Jules PA Member

    Sad. So very sad.

    • #10
    • January 1, 2017 at 5:55 am
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  11. Profile photo of Susan Quinn Contributor

    Thank you for taking us with you on this brief tour of Paris and Reina, Claire. (I especially loved your walk in the morning; I’m having my coffee with you now.) It is sad to see all the violence and danger, but I’m reminded to acknowledge all that and try my best to live each moment.

    • #11
    • January 1, 2017 at 7:42 am
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  12. Profile photo of Mendel Member

    I happen to be spending the week in Istanbul.

    The mood today is surprisingly normal; people seem to be going about their business as usual. Even the police don’t seem to be particularly on edge.

    I don’t know if this means that people don’t sense any heightened danger, or whether they are just becoming immune to the danger.

    • #12
    • January 1, 2017 at 8:21 am
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  13. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Mendel (View Comment):
    I happen to be spending the week in Istanbul.

    The mood today is surprisingly normal; people seem to be going about their business as usual. Even the police don’t seem to be particularly on edge.

    I don’t know if this means that people don’t sense any heightened danger, or whether they are just becoming immune to the danger.

    The Turks are tough. That’s the way it always is after a terrorist attack there — they get it cleaned up and they move on. Which I admire. But it traumatizes a society to go through that over and over.

    • #13
    • January 1, 2017 at 9:17 am
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  14. Profile photo of Petty Boozswha Member

    What a sad way to start a new year, I’m truly sorry for you and your friends that have been touched this way. If I could ask something that’s been on my mind for a few weeks, could you at some point elaborate on your opinions of Mademoiselle Le Pen and her chances of getting elected? I only get what news Americans get about France, which is probably comparable to the information you get about Uruguay, but she seems to me a much more plausible leader than Trump. I take it you are not fond of the National Front, but is there any potential upside of turning things upside down politically? And what would be the biggest dangers? I’m sure this would be of interest to a lot of American readers, if you are interested in the topic.

    Best of luck to you in the New Year either way.

    • #14
    • January 1, 2017 at 11:48 am
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  15. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):
    ould you at some point elaborate on your opinions of Mademoiselle Le Pen and her chances of getting elected?

    Yes, that’s a good topic. I’ll put that on my list for January, and thanks for asking.

    • #15
    • January 1, 2017 at 12:06 pm
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  16. Profile photo of DialMforMurder Inactive

    I prefer to call it Constantinople.

    • #16
    • January 1, 2017 at 1:01 pm
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  17. Profile photo of Mitchell Morgan Thatcher

    DialMforMurder (View Comment):
    I prefer to call it Constantinople.

    Oh you just had to to that. You can’t go back to Constantinople!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsQrKZcYtqg

    • #17
    • January 1, 2017 at 6:26 pm
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  18. Profile photo of Eeyore Member

    !! ? But, Zafar, where are your noodles ? !!

    • #18
    • January 1, 2017 at 6:26 pm
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  19. Profile photo of Topher Member

    It is long due time to crush these bastards. I believe Michael Flynn has a clear idea how to do this with a combination of force, intelligence and winning the war of ideology. Making nice only encourages them, and surgical drone strikes just gives them propaganda. The place to start is the Palestinians. Crush them.

    • #19
    • January 1, 2017 at 6:47 pm
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  20. Profile photo of Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    This article is good about the security context, for Turkey, and about what the Turkish military and government want the United States to do. The Trump Administration will have to make some very difficult decisions. I hope it does so wisely. So many lives depend on getting this right.

    My friends in Istanbul are so sad. It’s been a devastating year — 19 major terrorist attacks, a coup attempt, a refugee crisis, and war on three fronts.

    • #20
    • January 2, 2017 at 1:05 am
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  21. Profile photo of Larry3435 Member

    DialMforMurder (View Comment):
    I prefer to call it Constantinople.

    Byzantium. I consider it to be Greek territory, illegally occupied by the Muslims. God forbid they build an apartment building or something there. The Security Council will have to spring into action.

    • #21
    • January 2, 2017 at 5:27 am
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  22. Profile photo of Pat Sajak Contributor

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: It’s even possible I took @patsajak there, now that I think about it. (Did we go there, Pat?) I know he and I went for a walk in the neighborhood, Ortaköy.

    While we didn’t go to Reina, I did spend a lot of time in that area. I can’t fully express the impact that Istanbul had on me (thanks in great measure to the places I visited with you). There was something beautifully haunting about the city. It pains me to see what is happening there (much of which was foreshadowed during my visit), and I look forward to returning one day. Thanks for taking me back with this post.

    • #22
    • January 3, 2017 at 8:47 am
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