10. Silk Road Marvels and Syrian Tears
1. This Ancient Silk Road City Is Now a Modern Marvel. Bruce Schoenfeld and Rena Effendi, National Geographic
“The true identity of this territory has been suppressed,” Azeri filmmaker Teymur Hajiyev tells me the next evening as we sit at a traditional restaurant beside a stone wall that is almost a thousand years old. “We speak Russian, our names are Islamic or Persian, we try to be Turkish. We have a Frankenstein culture. We haven’t figured out what it means to be Azerbaijani.”
2. Pro-opposition Syrians in Turkey grapple with losing the war. Fariba Nawa
“If it were just Syrians, we would solve it. Syrians know that America and Russia don’t want to help. They just want to bomb and sell more weapons. Just leave us alone. We will rebuild (Syria),” she says, echoing a commonly held sentiment among the Syrian community in Turkey.
3. How Turkey’s Campaign in Afrin Is Stoking Syrian Hatreds. Molly Crabapple
To be a Kurd in Afrin, once a majority Kurdish city, Mohammed says, is now to find oneself a member of a despised group, suspected of disloyalty, and liable to be robbed, beaten, put to flight, or worse. In its seventh year, the Syrian civil war has seen the warring parties and their foreign sponsors foster and exploit ethnic and sectarian divisions in order to realize their strategic ends. The looting and ethnic cleansing of Afrin by Turkish-backed militias is the latest ugly episode of this grim and cynical logic.
4. Farewell, Pando: An Istanbul Culinary Legend Passes On. Paul Benjamin Osterlund, Culinary Backstreets
Pando hailed from a Bulgarian family that emigrated to Istanbul from the southern Macedonian city of Bitola, then known in the Ottoman Empire as Manastır. The roots of the community that Pando belonged to are complex and harken back to the Ottoman past, when national identities were less defined – or constrained – by borders.
5. Istanbul Psychedelia: BaBa ZuLa