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48
Istanbul
48 travels to the only city in the world that straddles two continents.
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2007 17:12 GMT

The Team - Ayse, Tom, Amanda, Firat and Simon
In this 48, Amanda Palmer and the crew are in the only city in the world to straddle two continents – Istanbul, Turkey's former capital and cultural heart. For millennia it has been a point of convergence for different religions and cultures, coveted and fought over for its strategic location and iconic status. As Turkey strives to define its 21st century identity, it is a country where the secular and the religious, the pro-European and the nationalists, vie for the upper hand.

Amanda is introduced to this cosmopolitan city by local guides Firat and Ayse, who show her the different sides of urban life in the last days of Ramadan. We visit the teenagers at a private dershane 'cramming' school, who study evenings and weekends for the famously difficult OSYM exam. Young Turks loath this three hour ordeal, which, despite five years of high school, is their only chance to prove they are worthy of a place at a university. Punk rock band Deli give us an exclusive performance of the anti-OSYM exam song which spawned a slew of copycat videos on the internet – and landed them in court.

Amanda and Ayse on the set of
Arim Balim Petegim
Since Ottoman times, satirical cartoons have played a vital role in Turkish society, challenging the establishment and allowing the people - literate or otherwise - keep an eye on the antics of their rulers. 48 meets one of the satirical magazine Penguen's comic – or caricature - artists, Erdil Yaşaroğlu, who the prime minister tried to sue.

Morning chat shows like Arim Balim Petegim, offer a mixture of glamour and moral instruction to their millions of viewers, mainly women doing domestic chores, who often watch a total of four and a half hours of chat a day. Amanda, Firat and Ayse join the audience of Arim Balim Petegim and meet the model and singer who hosts the show.

Breaking the fast
As the call to prayer rings out from the minarets on 48's final evening in Istanbul, we break the fast at one of Istanbul's top restaurants with a group of young Turks and families, both secular and religious. But the evening is not over, the last day of Ramadan is also the start of the three day 'Sweets Festival', Seker Bayrami. The markets throng with families buying gifts of brightly coloured candy, crowds gather in the squares for traditional music and dance, and in the busy Sultanahmet district the stage is set for a special surprise guest…

Watch the first part of 48 - Istanbul here

Watch the second part of 48 - Istanbul here

This episode of 48 will be broadcast at the following times GMT (subject to change):

Saturday 24th November 14:30, 22:30; Sunday 25th November 02:30, 12:30; Monday 26th November 00:30, 07:30; Tuesday 27th November 06:00, 13:30; Wednesday 28th November 11:30, 19:30; Thursday 29th November 05:30 Friday 30th November 03:00, 16:30; Saturday 1st December 06:30


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