If you follow the US news, you might be aware that war has been declared on women, contraception and, in general, common sense. If you are in Istanbul, you might know that, in addition to the usual things, war has been declared on bazaar traders who shout too much (though, as The Turkish Life correctly points out, the most casual observer can tell that's more of an urban myth than a thing that is actually happening).
Are loud bazaarcıs Istanbul's biggest offense? They aren't even really the biggest offense in bazaars, in our opinion. But, since war declaring seems to be a trend and we don't want to be left behind, there are a number of other things in Istanbul on which we suggest War Be Declared.
Street Cats: Shut up, catlovers -- here's a disgusting story that justifies our long-held position that Istanbul's street cat population is out of control. Dining in a pleasant garden in Cihangir yesterday, a nasty cat on top of a wall backs its hairy cat anus up and sprays all the tables below -- one of which we had been recently sitting at with our charming and well-dressed companions. As if the pervasive odor of cat piss in every building entryway wasn't enough, now it comes in your coffee*.
If you can't get on board with a conventional war on street cats, perhaps you can support our more moderate position in favor of population control via the introduction of natural predators. (BTW, we made that GIF ourselves, a medium which is probably going to be our primary creative outlet from now on. From CVs, to emails, to illustrating petty gossip, there really isn't a message that can't be enhanced with a GIF).
*To the waiter's credit, he did remove the wet sugar packets and salt and pepper shakers and cursorily wipe the table off after we pointed it out to him. The food service sector in Istanbul remains beyond reproach.
Scooter-borne delivery drivers: As the city's traffic becomes more intractable and more Istanbullus get money, the population of scooter drivers -- mostly young men who would be equally treacherous drivers in cars -- has exploded. It's no longer a matter of looking both ways before crossing a one-way street, it's a matter of looking both ways before stepping onto a sidewalk, or a pedestrian zone or out your front door, lest you become part of Bambi's paket servis.
Fortunately, there may be some overlap in the interests of scooter driver and street cat natural predators. Another cackle of hyenas, please!
Neighbors who Burn Coal and Pieces of Laminate in May: We know gaz is expensive. We know the draft can be lethal. But Istanbul's trademark smell of burning coal and cat piss should be confined to winter. If it gets below 60 degrees in May, instead of stuffing the soba with pieces of old furniture you found in the street, put on a goddam sweater. Your black-smoke belching chimney is directly below our balcony and you might be troubled to learn how many common (and uncommon) household items could, with good aim, be lodged in it.
The War on Outside Seating in Beyoğlu: This is a war on which war needs to be declared. COME ON! It's been a year, summer's here and sitting inside when it's 1000 degrees out is unacceptable. What kind of city bans --rather than just regulates -- outdoor seating? Rumors are flying that some outdoor seating is returning (creeping tablism has been growing on Galata Meydan for a couple months now), at a greater cost to restaurant owners, which will surely have no impact at all on already-inflated eating and drinking prices. But as of yesterday, Urban Sokak was as sad and silent as it has been for the last year.
Higher Prices for Foreigners at Orhan Pamuk's Museum of Innocence. Seriously, what kind of museum in a developed country gets away with charging foreigners more for tickets? We like Orhan Pamuk, enjoyed the book and have heard great things about the museum. But 25TL tickets for foreigners, compared to 15TL for Turks, is fucking backwards. If we were Orhan Pamuk, we'd extract a pound of flesh from the people who wanted to throw us in jail for "insulting Turkishness," rather the people who said, "uh, y'alls ever heard of free speech?" It costs as much for foreigners to enter the MOI as it does to visit the Hagia Sofia. The only other museum we've come across that has this pricing structure is Miniaturk. Miniaturk is cheaper, too, and has scale mini-models of OPET stations and Ataturk airport.