Friday, September 24, 2010

'Istanbul's ugly face'

Earlier this week, I was among the witnesses to an organized attack on a group of art galleries in Istanbul's Tophane neighborhood, a disheartening experience I wrote about on my personal blog, The Turkish Life, in what turned out to be one of the few (if not the only) English-language accounts of the incident. Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet subsequently contacted me to get my take on the events, and translated parts of my blog post, along with some of my spoken comments, for today's paper. (That's not me in the photo of patrons leaving one of the attacked galleries, by the way.)

It didn't make it into the article, but as I told the reporter, I love this part of the city and though I understand I'm among the people contributing to its gentrification, I sincerely hope Istanbul can find a way to continue to develop without marginalizing long-time residents. Given what's happened in Sulukule and what's underway in Tarlabaşı, it's hard to be optimistic, though.

UPDATE: The German culture magazine Perlentaucher also linked to my post in an article about the incident. The article is in German, so I can't read it, but I'm sure it's brilliant as it's by my good friend Constanze Letsch, who also witnessed the Tophane events. (She said the editor found my link without any tip-off from her.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Taking a regional view

Yesterday, the "Regionscape" editor for the Hürriyet Daily News ran across a post I'd written recently for TreeHugger about a reforestation effort in Armenia, Turkey's neighbor to the east, and asked to reprint it in the paper, where it appears in today's print edition. (TreeHugger maintains the online rights to the piece.) Unfortunately, I haven't yet had a chance to travel to Armenia to see the program in action first hand, but I hope to do so soon!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Istanbul 'expert' at work

After helping update guides to Istanbul and Turkey for DK Travel and Weissmann Reports, I've started an assignment as the "Istanbul expert" for Simonseeks, a new British travel site. I'll be scoping out the best hotels and restaurants in the city, and writing guides to sightseeing, shopping, nightlife, and getting around -- not to mention highlighting some of my personal favorite spots in my adopted home. The Istanbul guide will debut later in the fall -- watch this space for more details.

To go along with my new gig, I've also started up a second Twitter account, @TheTurkishLife, devoted to all things Istanbul and Turkey.