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This Happened—November 19: Reagan And Gorbachev On Neutral Territory

In order to begin to alleviate decades of tension between the U.S. and Soviet Union, Switzerland hosted the Geneva Summit of 1985 where American President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev would begin to lead the world out of the Cold War

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Why did the Geneva Summit of 1985 occur?

In 1985, Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States were still high, and the nuclear arms race still very much on. Despite tensions, Reagan and Gorbachev agreed that something must be done to reduce their number of nuclear weapons.

What happened during the Geneva Summit of 1985?

U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev met at a villa in Geneva Switzerland to make a first attempt at slowing the arms race and improving diplomatic relations. There, the two discussed their nuclear stockpiles and response capabilities, such as the Strategic Defense Initiative, as well as ideological differences on human rights and civil liberties.

Reagan even reportedly asked the Soviet leader if he would help to defend Americans from an alien invasion, to which he responded with a firm “No doubt about it.”

Although the 1985 Geneva Summit yielded little immediate change, it paved the way for future discussions between the two leaders and played a notable role in mitigating the tensions of the Cold War. The two would go on to hold more meetings like this and, after Reagan left office, Gorbachev would continue to hold similar meetings with U.S. president George H.W. Bush when he took office, leading to the definitive end of the Cold War.

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Society

Tour Of Istanbul's Ancient Yedikule Gardens, At Risk With Urban Restoration

The six-hectare gardens in the center of Istanbul, which are more than 1,500 years old, have helped feed the city's residents over the centuries and are connected with its religious history. But current city management has a restoration project that could disrupt a unique urban ecosystem.

Photo of Muslims performing Friday prayer in the garden of Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul.

Last March, Muslims performing Friday prayer in the garden of Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul.

Tolga Ildun via ZUMA Press Wire
Canan Coşkun

ISTANBUL — The historic urban gardens of Yedikule in Istanbul are at risk of destruction once again. After damage in 2013 caused by the neighborhood municipality of Fatih, the gardens are now facing further disruption and possible damage as the greater Istanbul municipality plans more "restoration" work.

The six-hectare gardens are more than 1,500 years old, dating back to the city's Byzantine era. They were first farmed by Greeks and Albanians, then people from the northern city of Kastamonu, near the Black Sea. Now, a wide variety of seasonal produce grows in the garden, including herbs, varieties of lettuce and other greens, red turnip, green onion, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, pepper, corn, mullberry, fig and pomegranate.

Yedikule is unique among urban gardens around the world, says Cemal Kafadar, a historian and professor of Turkish Studies at Harvard University.

“There are (urban gardens) that are older than Istanbul gardens, such as those in Rome, but there is no other that has maintained continuity all this time with its techniques and specific craft," Kafadar says. "What makes Yedikule unique is that it still provides crops. You might have eaten (from these gardens) with or without knowing about it."

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