Wednesday, June 13, 2007

To Live and Die in Istanbul

Turkish politics are heating up. Last weekend in Istanbul a bombing killed none and left 14 wounded. It is not as bad as the Istanbul bombing in 2003 that killed 27, however. Bombings happen nearly five or six times a year, and more often in Istanbul, the cultural center which is closest to the West. But life seems to go on as normal regardless of infrequent PKK attacks.

The newest danger in Turkey seems to be the possibility that the Turkish military might attack Kurdish areas of Northern Iraq, which is one of the r
elatively more peaceful regions in Iraq at the time. A huge military build-up is already on the way towards Southeastern Turkey, to begin attacks against the Kurdish PKK which is a sanctuary for the murderous anti-Turk separatist guerrillas. The US is telling Turkey not to attack Iraq for stability reasons, and the Arabs are complaining that this would ruin Ottoman integrity. Pro-EU Turks argue this would ruin chances to join the EU.

Weapons are easily accessible in Iraq. And the Kurdish PKK party have been using their access to weapons in order to attack economic interests of the Turkish society. It seems that while I am visiting Turkey for academic reasons, it would be best not to stray onto the path less-traveled. Tourist areas are attractions for explosive attacks, and in fact Sundays bombing was in front of a McDonald's. Steering away from crowds is the best idea. The US State Department says in its travel advisory that the possibility of terrorist attacks, both transnational and indigenous, remains high in Turkey.

Americans should exercise ''caution and good judgment, keep a low profile, and remain vigilant with regard to their personal security.'' But Turkey is still not on the current travel warnings list. And regardless of the bombing that killed nobody on Sunday, the city of Istanbul is still a safer place to walk than Chicago or Newark which have higher murder rates than, say, Cairo or Istanbul. In fact, the murder trend in American cities is dropping, but overall, the murder rate has risen by 7% since 2003. It would seem somehow perverted to fear walking in Istanbul as compared to Los Angeles, when in Los Angeles one has a greater possibility of being shot, or mugged. There is even a market in LA for renting 9mm Glocks for a day, something one won't find in Istanbul. As Tupac's To Live & Die in LA lyrics testify, LA is the place

...where everyday we try to fatten our pockets
Us niggaz hustle for the cash so it's hard to knock it
Everybody got they own thang, currency chasing
Worldwide through the hard times, warrior faces
Shed tears as we bury niggaz close to heart
What was a friend now a ghost in the dark, cold hearted bout it
Nigga got smoked by a fiend, trying to floss on him
Blind to a broken man's dream...

1 comment:

lrosen said...

AWESOME 2pac lyrics. I love it.