What Do You Know About Syria

What Do You Know About Syria So tell me: It’s been five years of a brutal war and almost every day the international media has carried some Syrian related story, from revolution to refugee and while most of Europe is now cowering under its bed in fear what can you really tell me about Syria…

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Faith and Fear in Istanbul-Turkey’s Alevi Minority

It was one of those grey Istanbul days that gives the Bosporus a melancholic look and sets you in a thoughtful mood, the Bosporus though was nowhere in sight, I was though in thoughtful mood, mostly thinking about what the hell I was doing standing on the side of a busy highway directly opposite a…

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Take Your Bombs And Fuck Off Damascus 2012

Bomb in Bab Touma Square Damascus 21st Oct 2012 From my Damascus Diary: I have no idea now why I was in a good mood; my diary doesn’t mention the small details which is stupid now I think about it, I’m hardly likely to forget the car bomb exploding but that’s pretty much all I…

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Photographers and Social Media

In the interest of a little blog interaction I would love for those of you photographers reading this to tell me your thoughts on how you are using social media and for what direct purpose. I like most have a Facebook account, Twitter and a LinkedIn profile, I use them all alongside my website and…

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Another Nasty Couple of Weeks Damascus Syria

4 March 2012 Another nasty couple of weeks have passed, carnage and killing in Homs and beyond, two brave journalists died for trying to tell the truth, they chose to risk their lives believing that showing the world what is happening in Syria would make a difference, they like thousands of Syrians were killed for…

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Syrians Heart and Soul Exile in Istanbul

Sitting in an café in the Fatih district of Istanbul I file my pictures; a rare story this time of Syrians doing pretty well for themselves in exile, I enjoyed the same Syrian food I ate with my friends in Damascus, now all exiled themselves, Abo Nour was shoveling Ma’anish into the oven as fast…

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Besiktas Carsi’s leader: Alen Markaryan

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Besiktas Carsi’s leader: Alen Markaryan

Meeting Besiktas Carsi’s leader, Alen Markaryan, is a daunting prospect. The scene at his kebab restaurant in Besiktas on a recent September evening could be a set from The Sopranos: a dozen men sit around a table deep in heated conversation about football. No one else sits within earshot. They are the elite of the Besitkas Carsi leadership; dangerous men with violent pasts. Markaryan, dressed all in black, has a stare to match and is clearly someone not to be messed with. He is a revered figure among many Besiktas supporters, but crucially, hasn’t attended a game in months.
Markaryan has been criticised by some Carsi members for an article he wrote perceived as supportive of Erdogan’s government. For him, politics and football shouldn’t mix.
“The idea that Carsi was part of the Gezi protests was overdone. If you went to the park during the protests, you would have seen no Carsi group, no flags,” he said.
“All messages in our stadium are social messages – there is no place for politics in the stands.”
Further probing about the link between football and politics elicits only anger.
He takes my pen and draws a line across a page in my notebook. “I thought you came here to ask me about football? No more politics!” He gets up and returns to the table of dons.
Yet in Istanbul, football and politics are impossible to separate.

Stephen Starr for the National