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The authentic Turk

Istanbul straddles Islam and Europe. Novelist Orhan Pamuk explains how

By Andrew Mango   February 2002

My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk (Faber, £10.99)

Istanbul is a world-city, straddling two continents, Europe and Asia. It was the capital of two empires, eastern Roman and Ottoman. It looms large in the history of the civilised world, actively as a great political centre, passively as the object of great power politics. Its monuments-Santa Sophia, the mosques of Ottoman Sultans-are landmarks in architectural history; the handicrafts it produced and amassed-from Byzantine ivories to Islamic china-are a precious part of our artistic heritage. But, since the middle ages, Istanbul has not been at the heart of intellectual creativity. Its…

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