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A window into the metropolis on two continents.

Dear Istanbul,

You are unquestionably a city that beats to its own drum; a percussion that is induced by Ottoman tradition and regional influences that soundtracks one of the most beautiful cityscapes in the world. The only city that resides on two continents, Istanbul is unique beyond its location and brims with a mixture of Middle Eastern cultures, immigrants, and refugees. Over the last 50 years, this thriving city has bolstered its numbers into the double digit millions, making it one of the fastest growing in the world. It’s as if everyone wants a piece of you, and after visiting, we can see why.

Turkey has the heart to embrace people from all over the world, as we saw that spirit everywhere we went after being in Turkey for two weeks. We met a man outside of Kusadasi who welcomed our crew into his coffee shop. After staying for a coffee, he asked if we were having a nice time in Turkey and that he hoped we’d be able to say something nice about Turkey before we left back to the States. After spending what little time we had in your country, we have more than enough nice things to say, and this issue is our way of doing just that.

Since visiting Istanbul last summer, there have been horrible attacks in Turkey. These were attacks on humanity, and all of our hearts go out to everyone affected by them. We shouldn’t forget the good people of Turkey, who like us, just want to feel safe and be able to live their lives out of harm’s way. We hope this issue serves as a reminder that the ill will of a few does not reflect the integrity of the many. As we discovered time and time again, some of the most thoughtful and generous people reside in Turkey.

You welcomed us and we felt the rhythm of your city, clearly driven by the collective of cultures and diversity that inhabits you. We hope the negative action of others doesn’t make you lose the luster of what is so great about you. The spirit of the people in your city is what makes Istanbul so great, and we cannot wait for another opportunity to take in your beautiful city along the Bosphorus once again.

– The Travelspective Team

“I believe the only sustainable way to fight back against those who seek to divide us is to create a world where understanding and empathy can spread faster than hate, and where every single person in every country feels connected and cared for and loved.”