Regular local print-news consumer that I am, I plan to get a local newspaper in each country we visit. On our first full day in Istanbul, I lucked out in finding an English-language Turkish newspaper.
Color me lucky and surprised. There was a photo above the masthead of a very familiar scene - a road sign marking the exit to the NSA entrance. While I shouldn't be surprised to see stories related to U.S. federal government agencies and actions in an international paper, the photo of a scene from inside my 25-mile life radius gave me a start.
Turning the pages revealed stories about changes to the balance of power between political parties after Turkey's recent elections, the Syrian refugee crisis in Turkey and Europe in general, a new Uber boat service in Istanbul, a court case about the Turkish government's power to close prep schools, several business articles, and an update on a former Turkish heartthrob who has apparently fallen on hard times.
Oh, and this:
Wow. Talk about hitting close to home. The firing of the Baltimore City Police Commissioner gets inches in an International paper. The accompanying image shows a protest march, with people holding signs that read Justice 4 Freddie and Black Lives Matter as well as Invest In Schools, Raise the Race Conversation, and We Who Believe In Freedom Cannot Rest. I'm interested in how this event plays out at home, but I'm even more curious about how this news is received by people here in Turkey. It just begs a bunch of questions. Why would Turks care about Baltimore's police leadership? How would an average citizen of Istanbul relate to the photo of anti-racism protestors in a U.S. city? What might Turkey's elite take away from this news coverage?
This trip is all about connections - between history and today, between continents and cultures and languages, between each other in this family, and between the world and home. The July 10th issue of The Daily Sabah is a welcome and tangible example.