Staff, 2022-10-25 10:54:00,
Through its very design, Istanbul is a gateway. A city divided between Europe and Asia, its neighbourhoods straddle the banks of the two separate continents across the Bosphorus Strait. It is the first place many head to in a country whose borders remain more accessible than others, the first place that many head when home is no longer somewhere they can stay.
Perhaps the single place where this sense of crossroads can be felt most keenly is onboard one of the public ferries that circle six major harbours in the city centre each day. The political turmoil that sends people fleeing abroad can be felt everyday in the stories of these passengers.
Sunday 2 October. After a sweltering weekend, ferries heading towards Kadkiöy, a bustling restaurant district on Istanbul’s Asian side, are laden with friends and families. But as passengers step off the deck, there is uproar.
Crowds protesting against the Iranian regime have gathered outside the terminal, making use of its central location. Women clutch poles adorned with hair, a display of solidarity with protesters who have cut their own in response to the death of Mahsa Amini. A veil is set alight before police quickly extinguish it.
On the ferry platform, a pregnant woman with the words “Women, life, freedom” written on her stomach stands with her husband.
The woman is Mahssa Mousavi, a 20-year-old school teacher who fled Iran in the wake of Mahsa Amini’s death. Mousavi and her husband had long talked about leaving Iran…
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