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Turkish Republic

Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk)’s post WWI campaign for  nation of salvation and Independence was directed from Ankara. in founding the Turkish Republic,  altitude decided to leave behind the Imperial memories of Istanbul  and set up his new government in Ankara a city that could not be threatened buy gun-boats. Robbed of its status as the capital of a vast Empire, Istanbul lost much of its wealth and glitter 

However, since the 1990s Istanbul  has undergone a renaissance. Public transport has been upgraded, work on a cross-Bosphorus tunnel is underway and parklands now line the waterways.When Istanbul won the right to become the European Capital of Culture in 2010 other ambitious projects were excitedly placed on the drawing board. There are plans to remodel the Sirkeci shorefront and SarayBurnu with the latter returned to parklands and the coastal road moved underground.

Istanbul’s cultural transformation is just as marked. The seedy dives of Beyoğlu ave been replaced by funky  cafes, bars and studios, transforming Beyoğlu  into a Bohemian hub. Istanbul Modern has opened along the Bosphorus showcasing Turkey’s Contemporary Art to the world and galleries seem to open weekly off Beyoğlu’s bustling Istiklal Caddesi. The live-music scene in the city has exploded making Istanbul a buzzword for creative, energetic  music with unique East-West twist. 

Turkey’s bid to join the European Union is underpinned by the fact that these days its beloved Istanbul is a cosmopolitan and sophisticated megalopolis, which has reclaimed its status as one of the world’s truly great cities.