Anyone who reads the French newspaper Le Monde will be very familiar with the name Nicole Pope. A Swiss national, Nicole Pope has been Le Monde's Istanbul correspondent for the past 16 years. While working for the Red Cross in Lebanon, she met and married Hugh Pope, an English journalist. They lived in Iran for a year before Hugh Pope was sent to Istanbul by Reuters. When Le Monde's Istanbul correspondent fill ill, Nicole Pope took over 'temporarily'. 16 years later she is still on the job. She has two daughters, aged 16 and 14, who have been raised in Istanbul. Nicole Pope lives in Arnavutköy and speaks fluent Turkish.
How do you feel about Istanbul?
I love it. I love living in big cities. Yet, despite its size, Istanbul manages to feel like a neighbourhood. For example, Arnavutkoy is a part of Istanbul but it also has its own unique character. Istanbul isn't an easy city to live in, but I haven't given up yet!
Do you ever think about leaving?
I always tell myself that I should explore new pastures, but I also know that nowhere will make me as happy as Istanbul.
What were your first impressions of the city?
I first came here as a tourist in 1984. To be honest, I didn't really like Istanbul. Back then, there were no decent mid-range hotels. Also, we came in the fall and it was very grey and dreary. After we moved here in 1987, the city began to change. At first, we couldn't even find diapers or Nescafe. There were no supermarkets. You had to wander from shop to shop. Life is easier now. The people have also changed. They are more individualistic.
Do your daughters enjoy living here?
Yes. This is their home. Besides, I like the fact that Istanbul is a safer city for them to grow up in compared to other European cities.
What are your favourite places in Istanbul?
I love Arnavutkoy. I don't really know the Asian shore very well. I like to wander around Fener-Balat. When I want to eat out, I head to Beyoglu. I go to Yakup a lot. Arnavutkoy is great for fish. I feel very much at home in Istanbul now.
What are your thoughts on the recent terror attacks on the city?
These kinds of attacks occur everywhere these days. There is such a polarisation between the west as represented by the US and the east that they seem inevitable. We just have to get used to this atmosphere.
Ultimately, are you happy that you live here?
Istanbul and Turkey are great places to write about. There is always so much going on. I am optimistic about Turkey's future.
By The Gate Magazine
Welcome to Travelers' Stories About Turkey
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Guest Message by DevFuse
''Istanbul is now my home town''
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