In a small side street off Istanbul’s Taksim Square, Ayse Tukrukcu welcomes patrons to her cute and cozy restaurant. In the bustling Beyoglu area, there is a plethora of spaces offering diverse food but the mission of Hayata Saril (“Embrace Life”) stands out. The restaurant serves regular meals to customers from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., but later the meals are served to “homeless friends.” There is no official registry, but estimatessuggest that there are around 7,000 of them in Istanbul. Tukrukcu welcomes them with open arms.

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