We did not leave, we are here. We will return. It is our soil.

This is dedicated to my aunt, Sabahat. We lost you to the earthquakes, and it took two weeks for your body to be liberated from the rubble. May you rest in peace, I won’t forget your life, nor the conditions in which you died. To my cousins and extended family members, whom we lost to the earthquakes in unimaginable ways. Some of you are still missing. As the dust settles, our hopes fade. To the tens of thousands of people who have been killed in Turkey and Syria due to improperly constructed buildings. To the millions of people directly affected, whether losing their homes and becoming displaced, or watching as that same fate affects hundreds of thousands around them. To the millions more watching in agony from far away as our histories crumble. As the streets we and our families grew up on disappear. As the yearning for home is replaced with the bitter kick of grief.

The Funambulist Correspondents 35 /// The Lubunya Struggle Against Turkish State Violence

Dear reader, this text is published in the spirit of open-access as part of our new project entitled The Funambulist Correspondents. The project is made possible through generous support from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

Read the introduction /// Explore the rest of the series

This piece is dedicated to Muhammad Wissam Sankari, a lubunya from Syria found dead in Istanbul in 2016. Mekanın cennet olsun, Muhammad.

Life does not stop, nor do we: queer and feminist movements in Turkey resisting ongoing oppression

Words by Jilet Sebahat

Translations by Erkan Affan

This article is part of the “Ya Leil Ya Eyein” issue

NOTE: This article was written in Turkish and translated into English by Erkan Affan.

There are two movements in Turkey that cannot be contained. One of them is the women’s movement, and the other is the LGBTI+ movement. Despite the oppression, tyranny, and attempts at erasure they have endured, these movements have never once lost their determination to persist and resist.


A Little Was Left, and Now That is Gone Too

“A little was left, and now that is gone too” (azıcık vardı, o da gitti şimdi) says my aunt, as she watches the news from Turkey in our flat in south London. I look up from my phone to see what she’s talking about and notice the bright flashing banners at the bottom of the screen: “President Erdoğan has pulled Turkey out of the Istanbul Convention”. The atmosphere in the living room has changed, but by this point my mother, aunt and I are prepared for such a sudden drop in our moods when watching the news. No longer do we feel the hot fire of disbelief or outrage in our stomachs, but rather the dull pain of grief.

Priya Ragu On Writing With Her Brother & Carving Out A Creative Niche

Even while on the move, singer-songwriter Priya Ragu looks as composed as ever. When we log on for a video call in early September, she is speaking to me from the back of a moving taxi. We begin by lamenting the weather in London – the city where Ragu is currently based – but, after some quick formalities, we waste no time diving straight into a discussion about her new album, her musical influences, and how she found her signature style.

“For a long time, I wasn’t able to create my own music,”

In Conversation with Travis Alabanza and Malik Nashad Sharpe

When I was approached to write for QED, I immediately thought of using this opportunity to both draw attention to and academically archive the words of two Black, trans artists for whom I have huge respect: Travis Alabanza and Malik Nashad Sharpe. Academia has always shaped much of how I've been able to empower myself as a person of color, but I frequently see the erasure that we as racial minorities still experience within the realms of its discourses. Our works and our words need to be archive

HARAM Is Turning Upcycled Sneakers Into Club-Ready Couture

This piece appears as part of BERLIN, BERLIN — a week-long virtual celebration of creativity in the city Highsnobiety calls home. See the full series here, and shop our BERLIN, BERLIN merch here.

Scrolling through HARAM's Instagram makes you want to take a pair of scissors to any old kicks you may have lying around. After dropping out from fashion school in 2019, designer All Amin started experimenting with sneakers, first making heels out of old ASICS and Nikes before finding what is now her s

Asifa Lahore On The Importance Of Inclusivity & The Power Of Drag

Ask Asifa Lahore to introduce herself, and she will tell you that she classes herself as “an intersectional and unique person.”

“I’m an LGBT+ activist, and I live my life as a trans woman,” she tells me via Zoom from her home in South East London. “I previously lived my life as a gay man, and then very publicly came out as transgender during my drag career, and I live with a disability, being severely visually impaired. I’m very proud of who I am and what I have achieved so far in the 38 years

The Omni-Presence of Omar Souleyman

Omar Souleyman has taken the music world by storm
with his eclectic mix of musical production and vocals,
with Ashuri, Kurdish, Arabic and Turkish melodies
and moods all finding their place within his growing
repertoire, reflecting the plurality of Levantine heritage
and projecting it authentically onto a global stage.
He stands with just a few other contemporary artists
from the region who have enjoyed mass mainstream
attention in Europe and North America — perhaps most
notably alongside Lebanese sensations Mashrou’ Leila.

About Me

Erkan Affan is an academic researcher, curator, producer and audio-visual artist based between London and Istanbul. Having completed his BA and MSc studies at SOAS and UCL in the fields of politics and migration, Erkan’s multidisciplinary approach is principally concerned with the intersections of transnational movement, human rights, sexuality, and contemporary popular culture and identity. The pieces above are a selection of some of Erkan's published work, for academic pieces, please contact him directly.