How Istanbul won back its crown as heart of the Muslim world

While Turkey stands accused of domestic repression, its largest city is increasingly seen as a beacon for the persecuted A ruined yali, or Bosphorus mansion, is still standing on the shore of the largest island of the Istanbul archipelago. The roof is long gone, but in better days it was the magnificent home of Leon Trotsky, who fled to Constantinople after his exile from the Soviet Union in 1929. Trotsky arrived during the turbulent birth of modern Turkey. The new republic sought to rid itself of Armenians, Greeks and other “undesirable” populationsbut Istanbul was opening its arms to White Russians, disillusioned Bolsheviks and African American jazz musicians. Later in the 20th century, intellectuals and dissidents from Germany and the Balkans would add to the diversity of a city that has always stood at the world’s crossroads. Continue reading...