Orhan Pamuk: Istanbul

„To see the city in black and white is to see it through the tarnish of history: the patina of what is old and faded and no longer matters to the rest of the world. Even the greatest Ottoman architecture has a humble simplicity that suggests an end-of-empire melancholy, a pained submission to the diminishing European gaze and to an ancient poverty that must be endured like incurable disease; it is resignation that nourishes Istanbul’s inward-looking soul.” (38)

„After the founding of the Republic and the violent rise of Turkification, after the state imposed sanctions on minorities – measures that some might describe as the final stage of the city’s ‘conquest‘ and others as ethnic cleansing – most of the languages disappeared. I witnessed this cultural cleansing as a child, for whenever anyone spoke Greek or Armenian too loudly in the street (you seldom heard Kurds advertising themselves in public during this period) someone would cry out, „Citizens, please speak Turkish!“ You saw signs everywhere saying the same thing.“ (215-216)

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