Stray dogs are a significant part of daily life in Istanbul and most
other cities in Turkey. Loved and protected by a few, tolerated by
many and hated by even more, tens of thousands of them roam the
streets in a culture that isn't exactly crazy about non-human city
They have been around for centuries; ancient Ottoman texts by civil servants ruminate on what to do about Istanbul's growing stray dog population. Mark Twain, in his notes on Istanbul, wrote in 1861 that he had never seen such "doleful-eyed and broken-hearted stray dogs" anywhere else in his life.
Although Turkey has taken a more humane approach to stray dogs than most Western countries -- which is also the main reason why Turkey still has them -- mass killings have always been a method authorities turned to, despite the failure of this method to solve the problem.