When I started writing Kara, I had imagined one day I would sit in Emek Sinemasi and watch the film that has this cinema and the surrounding Cercle d’Orient building at its heart. A film that remembers the days I spent in this building above the cinema, watching films through the tiny window of its projection room. That, it seems, will remain an unfulfilled wish. I read with frustration and sadness the news that Emek Sinemasi has been gutted and torn down yesterday. Fallen victim to gentrification and political ambitions.
The meaning of the sentence that opens up most Turkish fairy tales (and Kara, too) rings different today: Once there was one, then there was none (bir varmis, bir yokmus).
İstanbul may have served as the capital of many empires and she may have been called countless names: Byzantium, Constantinople, Lygos, Augusta Antonina, New Rome, Queen of Cities, The City, hē Polis, Kostantiniyye, Stamboul, Islambol, Gate of Felicity, Bâb-ı Âlî, The Doorstep.
But she is forgetting her name.