Balbals on the march

Hot from Istanbul's leading news channel

By Cornucopia Blog | June 16, 2013

After getting a reputation for being proccupied with nature programmes and cookery chat shows rather than reporting on Gezi Park, Istanbul's leading mainstream news channel turned its attention on Sunday morning to what in less troubled times would be a fascinating topic: Turkic balbals, the cup-bearing steles close to Cornucopia's heart that dot the steppes of Central Asia. Meanwhile in Harbiye and Nişantaşı, gas bombs and water canons were turning Valikonaği Caddesi into a war zone. Residents in Nişantaşı report two consecutive nights of near asphixiation from 12 hours of constant gas bombing ('from five to five'), with bombs apparently breaking some windows and ending up on the living room floor. ‘We are inside but my friend just ventured into the street in Nisantasi and returned a few minutes later crying and sick from the tear gas. Terrifying, indeed,’ writes one of our contributors. Experts today have been reassuring everyone by explaining the fatal consequences of long-term exposure to tear gas. Since many of the spent tear-gas cartridges turn out to be unlabeled, no one quite knows what chemicals they were inhaling – probably best not to. All of which may explain why account holders have been queuing up to withdraw savings from NTV's sister company, Garanti Bank, even after its GM reportedly announced that he was also a 'chapuler'. Turkish Vogue and all the other editions of Conde Nast magazines in Turkey also belong to the family.

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