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the good life on the bosporus.

Istanbul is Turkey’s most modern city. Newlyweds Simge and Ali Erkut show us the most scenic parts of this metropolis. And explain why the new Jetta is the ideal car for their everyday life. A mobile love story.

Text Ina Brzoska
Photos Cem Guenes

Istanbul, our love.

We ride along with Simge and Ali as they take the new Jetta on a tour through hometown.

Seagulls circle above the mist-shrouded docks, a gentle breeze wafts across the water, and the pale winter sun bathes Istanbul’s Old Town in soft pastel hues. The city on the Bosporus just came to life a few hours earlier. Long queues of yellow taxis squeeze their way through four-lane streets. Workers hurry along footpaths, talking into their smartphones or taking hungry bites from a takeaway sesame bread ring. Suddenly the muezzin calls everyone to prayer. A fine-spun tapestry of sound settles over the hustle and bustle – it sounds like a sigh.

The city awakens

A slice of Ali and Simge Erkut’s daily life. The young Turkish couple just recently moved into their first own flat. They live in Levent, a very modern and elegant section of Istanbul. Here they are in the thick of things, at the heart of the hectic morning activity. The matter of parking spaces, Ali openly admits, is a bit tricky in this area. But what can he do?

 

Ali: I come from Konya, a major city in Anatolia. I met Simge while studying at university in Ankara. When a friend introduced her to me, I thought: Wow, she is a genuine Istanbul native. Proud, elegant and self-assured. She immediately stood out in my eyes.

» We are emotional, loud and outspoken. This is also mirrored in our road traffic culture. «

Simge Erkurt

Simge: Unlike Ali, I grew up in this city. The highly charged traffic culture is typical for Istanbul. It reflects our mentality pretty well. We are loud and emotional, and sometimes very outspoken. This is reflected in the road traffic habits, too. This city has around 15 million inhabitants, and everyone here is fighting for their place in it. While we were planning our future, we immediately both agreed that we really wanted to move to Istanbul. It’s a dream to live here. But not cheap. We enjoy the city life here, the many fine restaurants, the cosy wine bars, we like to go to the cinema and do so often. I was happy that I found a job so quickly. I organise sustainability campaigns for a big transport company. Ali and I work hard so that we can afford the lifestyle here. In addition to the smart flat, we definitely wanted to buy a big car. A Volkswagen. The brand is frequently part of the city’s typical street scenes.

 

Ali: With regard to cars, I’m an aesthete. I absolutely wanted to buy a new Jetta and persuaded Simge to agree. I like the clean lines of the car’s back with the new tail lamps. The Jetta’s design makes it look pretty impressive, and it has more of a saloon car feel to it.

Simge: Safety is the most important thing to me. I feel as if I am in good hands in the Jetta. There are plenty of airbags, and if we drive through any dark alleys, the headlamps are almost as bright as daylight. The car even has Park Assist; a feature which helps us park in one of the small parking spaces.

Markets and bazaars

What do Ali and Simge do when they have a day off during the week? Their favourite pastime is strolling about bustling markets and bazaars. Fish is the no. 1 item on the menu in Istanbul’s restaurants. The best fishmongers are located on the banks of the Golden Horn. There are heaps of fresh fish piled up next to the ferry docks. Octopus, shrimp, sardines and bass are laid out on green cloths and sold in wooden boxes.

 

Simge: We like the fish market in Kadiköy. It is worthwhile getting here early. The fishmongers start setting up their stands as early as 5 a.m. I like it when it gets really crowded, when we get swept up in the throng of people and chat with the fishermen.

Ali: The fishmongers here always have suggestions for good recipes. Then we have an idea how to best cook the fish, and in the process we can haggle more easily for a better price. Simge and I enjoy listening to what the people have to say. Then we usually go home with far too much fish.

 

Simge: My father was at sea a lot. He was captain of a ship and sailed quite a bit in the Bosporus Strait on behalf of the government. Perhaps that’s why I have such strong ties to the water. Ali and I can really relax by the sea, it soothes me. I love to hear the sound of the steamboats and the ships’ engines. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that ships leave from here to go all over the world. Our country borders on Europe, Asia, the Arabic countries. We are in the middle of it all, and the different influences are reflected in our culture.

Ali: It’s important to Simge and me to travel around lots of different countries. Turks traditionally tend to stay in their home country for their honeymoon and go to places like Antalya or the Sea of Marmara. To us it’s important to get to know other cultures. After the wedding we absolutely wanted to explore the Greek islands. We packed the boot of the Jetta and simply drove off. First to Izmir, and from there we took a ferry to the Cyclades. We went to Mykonos, Paros and Santorini. You can get to know a country best when you are mobile. With the car we were able to drive to more remote places, had the opportunity to head to more isolated stretches of coast and small villages. In Santorini we drove up to the top of the highest mountain because the view of the island is so gorgeous from there. Narrow roads, sharp curves, I was so glad that the Jetta has a six speed gearbox and is so easy to change gears on. We met the friendliest locals in tiny mountain villages. The Greeks are quite similar to us. For example, they also drink raki, a distilled liquor made from raisins and which tastes like aniseed.

Turkish nights

How do you explain the Turkish lifestyle? The best way is to visit the Egyptian Bazaar in Eminönü, in Ali and Simge’s opinion. The traders offer their wares surrounded by medieval masonry. Spices, textiles, tea and jewellery from India, the Arabic countries and Turkey’s interior find their way here to be sold.

 

Ali: The atmosphere here is so lively, everyone is bartering, haggling. And above all, tasting and testing. After a walk through this market you will be really full. But there is also some risk involved. You will end up with a lifelong addiction to the sweets you find here.

 

Simge: We Turks eat far too much honey and sugar – we can’t help ourselves because it’s all so scrumptious. At the market you are constantly waylaid and talked into trying everything. The merchants here welcome tourists from all over the world in English, French, German and Arabic. It’s really great! That is the Istanbul that we love.

» You can learn about the Turkish lifestyle best by visiting the lively bazaars. «

Ali Erkurt

The new Jetta BlueMotion technology in figures.

TSI engines *:

77 kW (150 hp); fuel consumption in mpg (l/100 km): 45.6 (6.2) (urban), 64.2 (4.4) (extra urban), 55.4 (5.1) (combined); CO2 emissions in g/km: 117; energy

 

92 kW (125 hp); fuel consumption in mpg (l/100km): 40.9 (6.9) (urban), 62.8 (4.5) (extra urban), 52.3 (5.4) (combined); CO2 emissions: 125

 

110 kW (150 hp); fuel consumption in mpg (l/100 km):
41.5 (6.8) (urban), 64.2 (4.4) (extra urban), 53.3 (5.3) (combined); CO2 emissions: 123

 

TDI engines *:
81 kW (110 hp); fuel consumption: 57.6 (4.9), (urban),
78.5 (3.6) (extra urban), 70.6 (4.0) (combined); CO2 emissions: 105;

 

110 kW (150 hp); fuel consumption: 56.5 (5.0) (urban), 74.3 (3.8) (extra urban), 67.3 (4.2) (combined); CO2 emissions: 109

Dimensions:
4,659 mm long; 1,778 mm wide (2,020 with door mirrors); 1,482 mm high.

 

Luggage compartment:
510 l

 

Standard selection highlights:
Halogen primary headlamps and indicator signal lamps under a single clear glass cover, grille cover with black chrome strips on the louvres, leather gearstick knob, head airbag system for front and backseat passengers, including side airbags.

* valid for manual gearbox