Actually, reading The Times'
travel answer more closely, it has all the telltale signs of second-hand info; that is, an answer seemingly from someone in the know, but actually from a researcher with little or no direct knowledge of the destination:
1. It looks as though the researcher used TTP's Atatürk Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport pages as primary sources because of the facts selected and their arrangement.
2. It states that "It's great if you are hiring a car and heading off towards the Marmara region, to the ancient sites or Troy, Ephesus and Pergamum, or to the resorts along the Aegean coast, as the motorway runs right past the airport."
Well, motorways run right past both Istanbul airports (is there a major airport past which a motorway does NOT run?), but if you hire a car and head off toward the Marmara region, you must either plow through Istanbul traffic (not a happy prospect) or fight with the heavy truck traffic around the eastern end of the Sea of Marmara. The Times' statement is appropriate to Atatürk Airport, from which I recommend hiring a car, but not really to Sabiha Gökçen.
The final paragraph of The Times' answer is most telling of all, being a mishmash of partial, disjointed directions:
The other options mean you'll have to get into the city centre, on the Asia side, and then catch a cab or more public transport from there.
Huh? "city center on the Asia side?" "more public transport?" How do such phrases help a person figure out how to go?
There are regular busses from the airport, operated by Havas, which cost £3, to Taksim Square. This is the cities public transport hub, so it's relatively easy to catch a ferry and a taxi, or a bus from there.
"cities public..." (meaning "city's"). I'd love to see a ferry in Taksim Square, which is high on a hill with no water at all. (Actually, there used to be a reservoir there--maybe they were thinking of that.)
Or you might prefer to take a short taxi ride from the airport to Pendik train station (under three miles away), from where there are trains into the city, with a journey time of 50 minutes.
"trains into the city": meaning to Haydarpasa station, on the Asian side, from which you must still take a ferry, and then the tram or a taxi, to reach Sultanahmet.
In short, The Times' answer gives some information, some of which is accurate, all of which is incomplete. Unfortunately, such researcher-produced, "repurposed" information makes readers believe they have received a fully usable answer that will allow them to go on their way. They have not, and they will not find this out until they are on the spot.
The Times is not alone in this. Whole guidebook series have been written this way. Even the mighty Lonely Planet is subject to it. In their free City Guide pdf download "Two Days in Istanbul," sprinkled with spelling errors in the Turkish words, they state:
Many tourists never make it outside the Old Istanbul area of Sultanahmet, which is a shame....
Actually, Sultanahmet is part of Old Istanbul, and not the other way around. LP then advises readers to...
Head away from the crowds to the Hippodrome
Uh, the Hippodrome is in fact Sultanahmet Square, and it's where the crowds are
. They've just told you to get out of where you are and go right back to where you were. Huh?
The print-out goes on to advise readers to take a ferry to Asia, and to...
do nothing more taxing in the afternoon than stroll the waterside to Haydarpasa Station
...which is at least six km of walking along a heavily-trafficked shore road. Hmmmm....
And when you get to Haydarpasa, the print-out advises you to go shopping at a shop right next to the Blue Mosque, which is back in Sultanahmet, where it had earlier advised you not to spend too much of your time.
This sort of cheap gormless editorial dreck is a burden to travelers rather than a help. Having downloading the print-out, a traveler thinks s/he has some useful direction. In fact, upon arrival, s/he must actively un-learn the dreck
and start over from scratch.
It is almost always better to have no info than to have these sorts of poor quality info. Without any info, at least you know what you've got.