One of my favorite musicians is the Bulgarian/Turkish accordionist called ‘Ciguli.’ Unfortunately, he passed away in 2014. After he died, the Istanbul based Roll Magazin re-published an extensive interview with him. Getting to understand Ciguli’s life and point of view only made me appreciate him more. He talks about his love of Bollywood, the situation of the  turkish ethnic minority ...

The deeper I got into the Balkans the more I began to feel the magnetic pull of Istanbul. As of Novi Pazar, everything started to tilt towards the city on the Bosphorus. The food, the music, the language, the mannerisms, all began to assume a Turkish touch. I realized that if ever I were to unwind the knotty issue of the ...

The guy that worked the hotel reception desk looked at me, as if to make sure he had heard correctly. “Tallava? You want tallava?” he said, like I wanted a dose of the clap. “Are you sure you really want to hear this shit? I know of a place on the edge of town. But I’m warning you, it is a ...

Derya Yıldırım doesn’t  like to be pigeonholed. “I do what comes out of me. And if that is for some ‘psychedelic rock’ then so be it,” she says. Oft compared to Turkish neo-psyche rockers Altın Gün, Yıldırım was at the right place at the right time when the Anatolian psyche revival hit. Here we have Derya Yıldırım and Grup Şimşek’s second ...

The shriek of the clarinet cuts the air and suddenly all the young bucks hit the floor, linking pinkies and dancing halay (Turkish circle dance). As the wedding band runs the gamut of popular wedding songs, the bride and the groom take center stage. Now and then a guest comes up and showers the bride with dollar bills, while the kids run ...

Erol Ünal, a young German Turk from Esslingen, near Stuttgart, has come out with a scathing anti-Muslim exposé entitled, Der Abtrünnige – 15 Jahre in Moscheegemeinden. Meine Einblicke in eine Welt von Fundamenalisten und Rechtsextreme, über Radikale bis zu Sufis.  First off, let me say although I disagree with Ünal right from the get-go; taking issue with his tenets, precepts and conclusions, ...