Fucking Young Turks – Çağdaş Erdoğan
Çağdaş Erdoğan lenses Istanbul’s incendiary and underground scenes. For that, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threw him in jail along with thousands of journalists, image-makers and media mavericks.
Turkey is a gorgeous country with a rich history that includes Greek, Roman and Muslim influences. It is also a place with a throbbing and politically juiced up youth jockeying for secular values and cultural pluralism amidst an increasingly autocratic government and a metastasizing form of Islamofascism.
Besides bang-up baklava bites and luscious lattes at Cafe Cangolina (our fave hangout in Istanbul), Turkey is a paradoxical place teeming with pomo weirdness and double-edged story-lines. It not only possesses NATO’s second-biggest armed force, but also straddles a critical geopolitical fault-line between west and east. That makes it one of the most fascinating and fucked up places on Earth. It is literally a bridge between East and West: the mile-long Bosporus Bridge (now oddly named ‘The July 15 Martyrs Bridge’) just north of Istanbul connects Europe and Asia across the Bosporus Strait (below).
Enter the shiny and subversive shutterbug Çağdaş Erdoğan, just one of hundreds of young journalists who got sent to the Big House for taking snaps of Turkey’s roiling underground. Since the failed coup in 2016, a tsunami of state repression has washed over Turkey, transforming it into a kind of semi-Islamic backwater with fascistic tendencies and a rapidly deteriorating civil society. A totally bogus, Orwellian-style ‘state of emergency’ has been in effect for nearly two years.
Now in its 21st month, the ‘state of emergency’ – which was originally enacted to empower the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the event of a disaster or armed conflict – has resulted in countless human rights violations against hundreds of thousands of people, including photographers, editors and many people who work in media, art and the culture industries. A few fun facts: Turkey is currently the biggest jailer of journalists in the world, with 245 journalists and media workers in prison as of April 4, 2018. That’s redic. In economic terms, it has one of the highest debt burdens of any emerging market ($470 billion in liabilities against a $1 trillion GDP) which makes it acutely vulnerable to financial and geopolitical shocks. Interest rates have doubled there in a short period (from 6% to 12%) and confidence in the place is quickly eroding. Turkey is also known as the ‘Jihad Express’ because the bulk of foreign fighters and muj dorks crossed into Syria via Turkey at the height of the so-called ‘Caliphate.’ Many are still lingering there in full Takfiri mode but have no where to go now that Da’esh has been routed.
Anyway, the ongoing relentless crackdown comes as no shock to Çağdaş Erdoğan, a Kurdish-Turkish photographer who was imprisoned on September 13, 2017. In a seemingly typical work day, the 26-year-old was taking snaps at Istanbul’s Yoğurtçu Park, a trendy hangout spot in the Asian side of the city, before being arrested by strong-armed goons. He was accused of photographing the MIT building, i.e., the National Intelligence Organization’s HQ in Istanbul. As a result, Çağdaş spent 161 days in jail and was accused of being in cahoots with terrorist groups for his documentation of Istanbul’s hidden subcultures.
VIVISXN fell in love with his hardcore, monochromatic pics of dudes in balaclavas, members of armed leftist organizations, mafia crews, cruel dog fights, taboo sex scenes and gun-toting weirdos, possible jihadists, Peshmerga rogues and ultra-militant misfits. Get familiar with Çağdaş Erdoğan’s super cool photography here. Wow.
Awesome images courtesy of Çağdaş Erdoğan
VIVISXN MEDIA – Art + Fashion + Çağdaş Erdoğan + Geopolitics + Turkey