Where were you born?
I was born in Bingöl, but my family comes from the neighbouring province of Siirt.
Where in Istanbul do you live?
What’s best about your neighbourhood?
If money were no object, where would you live?
My answer is in the words of one of Turkey’s greatest poets, Necip Fazıl Kısakürek: ‘They have melted my soul and frozen it in a mould; they have named it Istanbul, and put it on earth.’
Which local dish do you recommend?
I definitely recommend perde pilavı, a traditional dish from Siirt.
Where do you take friends who are visiting Istanbul from out of town?
I try to take them to different parts of Istanbul, especially to the Anatolian side. The history and richness of Istanbul is not confined to the well-known touristic places.
Which is the best attraction in the city?
Where are the best bargains in Istanbul to be found?
The Grand Bazaar.
Are any special events happening in Istanbul this year?
Istanbul was chosen as the European Capital of Sport 2012, the first time the title was awarded to a European Union candidate country. With its unique intercontinental location, the city will offer something different to the previous capitals of sport. Istanbul’s young and dynamic population of 13m people will put sport at the centre of urban life this year, using the experience the city gained as European Capital of Culture in 2010. This title will also increase the dialogue between Istanbul and other European cities.
Do you have any advice for visitors?
Just come, walk around the streets and take in the atmosphere of every corner of Istanbul.