ISTANBUL — “There are liquids that are not mixable — it’s like that.” But Bedri Baykam — a prominent Turkish painter, activist, politician and author — was not talking chemistry. He was speaking of the hardening self-segregation between Westernized, secular Turks like him and the conservative Muslims who now run Turkey, but whom he’d be unlikely ever to dine with.
“We don’t eat the same way,” he said, picking at eggs and olives in his vast gallery-cum-studio space in the Pera neighborhood. “We eat at tables with ladies and men sitting together — and enjoying and drinking wine and making jokes and listening to either Turkish music or Beethoven or Rolling Stones or Beatles or Edith Piaf. They sit separately with men and women. They don’t drink alcohol.”
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