Sevgili Istanbul (Dear Istanbul)

The book resembles the city itself which is always glamorous, sometimes lonely, mostly bizarre and full of wonders.

Transformation of Istanbul

Sevgili Istanbul is a collection of memories as twenty of the city’s most famous residents recapture the life-changing experiences about Istanbul. The author, Remzi Gokdag, features candid accounts of interviews with these people who have called the city home, their life-changing experiences and important notes of Istanbul’s past. These stories vary from funny to sad, from inspiring to memorable, also they combine to form an impressionistic history of Istanbul since the early days of the Republic until today.

The city where cultures meet

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Istanbul has always been at the crossroads as the only major city that lies on the border between two continents. It is a gateway city between the East and West, from the Greeks, to the Romans, to the Ottomans, to the millions of immigrants from every imaginable far-flung corner who swell its streets even today. Since 1970 this ancient city has blossomed from 2 million to a megalopolis of 16 million, stretching across 2,060 square miles: four-and-a-half times the area of New York City.

Today many locals feel overwhelmed by the ongoing makeover, which they view as focusing on profit for the privileged while ignoring the city’s historical past. Today, in the shadow of an iconic, minaret-spiked skyline, old town neighbourdhoods are being rebuilt. Luxury hotels and massive infrastructure are rising all over the city. Innovative art, design and dining scenes attract people from all over the world. But during this transformation, the city lost it’s own culture and historical values. Some of its residents find this as a success story, while others believe the opposite. In their view, the city’s unique traditions and historical background are disappearing.

About the book

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Remzi Gokdag’s book Sevgili Istanbul (Dear Istanbul) compiles twenty memories by well-known notable Istanbul figures of the last century. These may be extraordinary people, but their experiences and emotions are recognizable as our own. They recollect their memories about the city which is lost today.

From the author of Park Otel Olayi, Remzi Gokdag’s new book Sevgili Istanbul very much resembles the city itself which is always glamorous, sometimes lonely, mostly bizarre and full of wonders. The stories vary in length and tone, but they express the city’s memorable past.

These figures recollect the old Istanbul and also tell the story of one of the greatest cities in the world. For them there really is no place like Istanbul. For anyone else who had lived, currently lives or dreams about living in Istanbul, these vivid, truthful and mostly joyful memories will present a historical record of old Istanbul. Some of their stories are happier than the others, but all of them are representations of the city from an individual’s perspective in a specific time in history.

Twenty of the city’s famous residents

Contributors include Safa Önal, Ara Güler, Hıfzı Topuz, Doğan Kuban, Nurettin Sözen, Adalet Ağaoğlu, Hamdi Arpacı, Murat Belge, Hasan Pulur, Haldun Hürel, Muhterem Nur, John Freely, Oğuz Atalay, Müjdat Gezen, Aydın Boysan, Halit Kıvanç, Rüknü Özkök, Yorgo Okumuş, Haldun Dormen and Oktay Akbal.

About the author

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Remzi Gokdag received his BA in Journalism from Istanbul University. He began his journalism career at Cumhuriyet in 1989, specialized of Istanbul also covered national and feature news.

He received the The Progressive Journalists Association (ÇGD) Award and The Turkish Journalists’ Society’s (TGC) Cetin Emec Journalism Award in 1993.

In 1999 he moved to Los Angeles for studying computer science and both theory and practice for broadcast, print and online media to create new platforms for online journalism.

In 2008 he moved to Zurich, Switzerland. His weekly journals about daily life in Swiss alps have been published on national newspapers and magazines in Turkey.

He is the author of three books. His first book Park Otel Olayı (1992) tells a timeline story about a huge construction building which had raised in the middle of Istanbul without legal approval and then stopped by people who wanted to protect their historic city’s environment.

His second book Amerikan Medyasında 11 Eylül (2001) summarize the reaction of various networks, mainstream news outlets and internet news websites in the events of 9/11.