Though beloved by Sufis and sultans, Üsküdar was not spared the ground-shaking reforms of the 19th and 20th centuries. In the second half of our history, we look at how Istanbul’s ‘holy land’ has fared in its two-century tryst with modernity.
- Even in antiquity, all roads east began in Üsküdar. In a sense, they still do. So long as its delicate balance is not severed, Üsküdar will remain to Istanbul—the confident, pious, and prosperous focal point of the urban Anatolian experience—what Turkey is to the world: proof that Islam, capitalism, and modernity, with a dash of democratic salt, is still a dish worth serving.
- The AKP model exercised indisputable power, to a great extent thanks also to the current government’s choices in foreign policy. In recent years, Turkey has added to the benchmarks that, at the end of the Second World War, formed its international policies – Atlanticism, westernisation, a European perspective and relations with Israel (Ankara is one of the few Islamic capitals that has recognised the Jewish state) – great dynamism in the Middle East, North African and the Balkans; the so-called “Ottoman sphere.” This has increased Turkey’s international prestige, strengthened its capacity to act as a cohesive force between west and east, raised the level of respect the country enjoys in the Arab world and its role as a negotiator.