Control deals with the dark side of the aftermath of the 2000s in Turkey, where instincts collided with modernism. The story of night in Istanbul includes sex workers, dog fights, gun violence and political armed conflict. At first glance, these activities seem different, but once we delve deeper into these stories we can see that they are part of the same chain of motives.
Photographs and text by Çağdaş Erdoğan
Turkey entered a new political climate after the 2000s. The climate, which has become increasingly conservative, has given certain ideologies a platform and at the same time led people with opposing thoughts be vilified and pushed into the night.
I moved to the Gazi district of Istanbul in 2014 to complete the Control project. I am currently photographing the armed political conflicts, dog fights and sex parties that take place in Gazi and other segregated neighborhoods in Istanbul. The common factor between these areas is that the residents are mainly Kurds, Alevi’s and refugees. Recently, the government has increased the pressure and is now looking into different policies to wipe out these communities.
The conflicts in the east of the country often increase the severity of the pressure. Long term projects such as urban transformation are being introduced and dissembling the culture created in these neighborhoods. Problems within the education system also bring tension. There are simply not enough schools and teachers in there what results in most of the youth leaving school without completing high school. This causes the children to carry out their potential in other fields. They grow up trying to prove themselves from a very young age. Unfortunately this leads some to follow a path that introduces them to drug trafficking or illegal dog fights. After a while, it becomes a way of life.
Sexual activities are one of the most secretive events that are pushed into the night. Those who cannot live out their different sexual orientations and preferences within society fulfil them secretly at night. People from different classes and professions come together to organize sex parties. Those who participate in these events are usually people who are forced to hide their sexual orientation and preferences from the society.
Control is a hardcover book available on sale.
Çağdaş Erdoğan is a self-taught photographer and artist born in 1992 in a small town in Eastern Turkey. He had developed an interest in photojournalism and traveled many times across Turkey and abroad for his projects. He focused on minorities in the Middle East. His works have been published in renowned newspapers and magazines like NY Times, Der Spiegel, The British Journal of Photography, The Times, The Guardian, İz Magazine and others. He was among the ones selected to watch in 2017 by The British Journal of Photography. He works with a collective group called SO and is now based in Istanbul.
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