As the art biennial opens, the smell of violence once again lies in the air in Istanbul. Can a major exhibition respond to the language of the street and fulfil its promise of a free and modern society? By Catrin LorchMore
The Ottoman Empire, founded in 1299, collapsed in November 1922, when the last sultan, Mehmed VI, was sent into exile. The First World War had been a disaster for the empire, with British and allied forces capturing Baghdad, Damascus and Jerusalem. A new government, the Turkish Grand National Assembly, was set up in 1920 in Ankara, which then became the Turkish capital. Constantinople, formerly the imperial capital, was renamed Istanbul in 1930.