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(What Brought Elska To Istanbul… with Onur A)

The idea behind doing an Istanbul came over time. I can pinpoint three things that led us here.

1) Making the Berlin issue… Onur A spends a lot of time in Berlin. His husband lives there and they currently divide their time between Berlin and Istanbul. Of course, Onur isn’t the only Turk in the German capital. Turks form the largest ethnic minority in Berlin (perhaps up to 200,000 live in the city), and Berlin is the city with the largest Turkish population outside Turkey. But the frustrating thing was that when we were making the Berlin issue, we expected to have a few Turks in the issue, but we didn’t have any. It’s not for lack of trying – we contacted loads from the Turkish community, but none of them were up for it.

2) Shooting Tusan C… So although no Turks were shot in Berlin, we did happen to meet and shoot one in the Reykjavík issue, Tusan C. Together we discussed the possibility of doing an issue in Turkey, whether he thought it would be possible to achieve, or if society there would be too conservative. He wasn’t sure, but at least he directed me to aim for either Istanbul or Izmir. Places like the capital Ankara, or somewhere that always fascinated me, Trabzon, would be, he said, too difficult. But although we talked about it, I didn’t seriously consider it yet.

3) The letter from Murat… After the Reykjavík issue was published and its Tusan C shoot, we got some attention from Turkey’s premier gay magazine, GZone. Their editor Murat Renay wrote me and said we should definitely do a Turkish issue. We chatted and I voiced my reservations, but he assured me it wouldn’t be hard to find guys, that Istanbul wasn’t the conservative city I expected. He also said he’d help us find local boys, so I took his word for it and pulled the trigger. And there you have it, what brought Elska to Turkey.

Read and see more in Elska Magazine issue (06) Istanbul

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