Current lunar phase: First Quarter Moon



Behind the Lens: Istanbul


This series of images covers the first month of 2008 in Istanbul. The neighborhoods, attitudes, and döner shops are as varied as the dress styles and cultures in this cosmopolitan city.

The western world is fixated on whether Turkey, a Muslim country, will join the European Union, what the country is going to do about the Kurdish separatists on its border with Iraq. Most Turkish news is, in fact, focused on the question of secularism, one if its most strictly enforced national tenets since its birth as a republic in 1923. The current ruling party is attempting to use the power of voters to allow religion to play a bigger role in everyday and civic life. To put it simply, a lot may change in Turkey over the next decade. But regardless of a political shift, any visitor to the city will be in awe of its narrow cobble-stoned streets, bustling city life, friendly locals, and breathtaking views of tightly-packed colorful buildings which slope towards blue water in every direction.