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Gentrification glitter fades into dust in Istanbul’s heart

Istanbul’s most famous avenue falling into urban decay is a sign of economic hardship awaiting Turkey in the near future.
People stroll at Istiklal street, a major shopping and tourist district, in central Istanbul, Turkey March 22, 2016. A Turkish flag, which is placed on the stall of a street vendor, is seen on the right.  REUTERS/Osman Orsal  - RTSBZAH

Istiklal Avenue is one of the most photographed streets in Istanbul. Situated in the heart of the Beyoglu entertainment district, Istiklal (formerly known as Grand Rue de Pera and Cadde-i Kebir) is a wide avenue adjoining several historic streets from Karakoy Port, Galata Tower and Taksim Square. The red streetcar from the Ottoman days is probably the best-known image of the avenue, which has long become the symbol of Istanbul.

Istiklal Avenue has been viewed as a relatively successful gentrification example of the Beyoglu beautification effort compared to other areas. With political gatherings of all sorts, popular cultural events, countless shops and an active nightlife, it was the place to be seen.

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