Istanbul: An emerging power’s ancient heart

With its economy growing at a breathtaking speed and its influence growing, Turkey will play a key role in the region in the years ahead. Istanbul, the cultural and commercial capital which straddles Europe and Asia, offers a glimpse of the country's history as well as its future.

A Turkish flag and one emblazoned with the face of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk wave in Taksim Square. When the Ottoman Empire crumbled after the First World War, Atatürk defeated the Allies and worked to establish a Westernized and strictly secular state. The founder of the Turkish Republic is still adored by many and his likeness is widely on display throughout the country. Jonathan Lewis
A woman stands in front of the Independence Monument in Istanbul's Taksim Square. The square and the sculpture were erected in 1928 - five years after the country was founded. Situated at the heart of modern Istanbul, the square often provides the setting for official events and demonstrations. Jonathan Lewis
The baroque mosque of Bosphorus Ortaköy sits adjacent the Bosphorus, an important trading route and the channel that separates Asia and Europe. Located in a cosmopolitan district that features many bars and restaurants, the area also contains functioning churches and synagogues. Jonathan Lewis
Police gather on the busy shopping street of Istiklal Cadessi in Istanbul during a protest in February 2011 to commemorate the capture of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of separatist militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). A Marxist-Leninist-inspired organization founded in the late 1970s, the PKK fought a bitter guerrilla war against the army. The conflict claimed more than 30,000 lives, depopulated swathes of the country's southeast and displaced millions. Ocalan was captured in 1999 and has since renounced the aim of creating a separate Kurdish state. The organization recently let a cease-fire lapse, citing a lack of progress in negotiations with the government. Jonathan Lewis
Ships and ferries cruise through the bustling Bosphorus in Istanbul. Russia exports oil and gas to the West through the channel, which is flanked by warehouses, train cars, cranes and piles of shipping containers. Built in 1348 by the Genoese, the Galata Tower (center) was used as a lookout during Ottoman times. Jonathan Lewis
The Haydarpasa docks on the Asian side of the Bosphorus are some of the busiest in the region. The site handles much of the container traffic that lands in Istanbul. Jonathan Lewis
Istanbul’s Nisantasi district features expensive stores and high-end cafes and restaurants. Alongside the luxury, many locals make a living doing piecework or odd jobs, collecting junk, selling simit (bread rolls) or in some cases begging. Jonathan Lewis
Market stalls line streets in Kadkoy, the cosmopolitan heart of Istanbul's Asian side and a 20-minute ferry ride from the ancient European center of the city. The area used to be home to large Armenian and Greek Christian populations, many of whom left amid the wave of nationalism that came after the founding of the Turkish Republic. Jonathan Lewis
Tea, or cay, is the standard drink day and night in the many cafes and tea-rooms throughout Turkey. Nargile cafes, where customers smoke traditional water pipe, tend to be alcohol-free. Jonathan Lewis