Nick Ashdown ( Profile picture
🇨🇦 journalist & writer mostly covering #Turkey. DMs open for story ideas. Bylines @Newlinesmag @LAReviewofBooks @globeandmail @TheTLS @ForeignPolicy @TheWorld
Apr 24, 2023 5 tweets 2 min read
I didn't realize that the first memorial to the Armenian Genocide, called the Huşartsan, was actually erected in the Pangaltı Armenian Cemetery in 1919 on the site of what later became Gezi Park. #24Nisan Image The Pangaltı Cemetery, built in 1560, was the largest non-Muslim graveyard in the city.…
Feb 10, 2023 9 tweets 2 min read
Rereading Stephen Kinzer's chapter on the 1999 earthquake and am struck by the similarities in the mishandled response. “Power shovels & other heavy equipment, much of it sent voluntarily by private companies, finally arrived in the ruined towns, but only after hopes of finding anyone alive had faded.”

Ecevit falsely claimed "roads were too clogged to allow rescue teams to reach devastated towns"
Feb 10, 2023 14 tweets 4 min read
I know that Turks & Syrians abroad, whether their loved ones are in the earthquake zone or not, are going through an indescribable trauma right now, while the rest of the world simply moves on. Please be there for your Turkish and Syrian friends and colleagues. As I wrote on FB: As @ozgevon explained to me, it's surreal to see colleagues (understandably & inevitably) living their lives blithely as an apocalypse is visited upon your homeland. We can't all stop our lives every time there's a new calamity somewhere, but we can be attentive & sensitive.
Feb 6, 2023 15 tweets 5 min read
This has been just a devastating decade in Turkey. Today's horrors are very much intertwined with the overall political situation, since massive corruption has led to shoddy construction, stolen earthquake funds, minimum preparations for the inevitable, and an economy in tatters. As so many feared and assumed, the state is reportedly prioritizing aid for AKP-governed districts and withholding it from opposition-governed places.

"Not a single AFAD official has come here yet, our bodies are left on the sidewalks."

Jan 31, 2023 4 tweets 2 min read
Today marks the centenary of the devastating Greek-Turkish forced "population exchange" (often spoken of in Greek simply as the Catastrophe). A young Ernest Hemingway witnessed it, helping to pioneer a vivid new style of reportage for the Toronto Star.
Jan 13, 2023 5 tweets 1 min read
There's a pretty wild story unfolding in Turkey that's not getting any attention in the foreign press. On Dec. 30, Sinan Ateş, the former head of the ultranationalist group Grey Wolves (affiliated with MHP, itself partnered with AKP), was killed in broad daylight in Ankara. A former Grey Wolf was detained in an MHP deputy's home, then released w/o giving a statement. Another MHP politician (& convicted murderer) was also detained; he'd sent money to one of the suspects, a friend. Among detained suspects are 2 cops, at least one of whom is a 🐺
Apr 30, 2022 12 tweets 4 min read
Was just looking through some old photos from Moscow, where I taught English and studied Russian from 2007-09. This was from a student in a teenaged class. The other students once said to me: "Don't answer a question with a question Nick, that's what Jews do." Here's a few others from a rally I once walked past. The sign talks about how the "Jewish mafia" has settled into the Kremlin and are doing bad things on Russian land.
Jul 9, 2019 9 tweets 6 min read
Going through some of my old online Turkish learning materials. Here are some of the most useful/creative:

Learning through popular songs:

Through podcasts:

Through an interactive graphic novel:… Short videos about Turkey:…

Video lessons:

Lessons using clips from the Bizimkiler series:

Learn through classic songs via @AnatolianRockRP (excellent English subtitles):…
Mar 31, 2019 11 tweets 3 min read
A thread on the #TurkeyElections and a short history of democracy there, especially for non-Turkophiles:

1. Turkey has elections (often, and with extremely high, extremely enthusiastic turnout), but is not a democracy. This is quite new. 2. Experts disagree over when exactly this 'exit' occurred, but most agree that elections can no longer result in a change of power (on a national level; there are many cities & provinces administered by opposition parties). Elections are unfair, and if need be, partially rigged.
Sep 18, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
"'The claim to set up new States according to the limits of nationality is the most dangerous of all Utopian schemes,' the Austrian Foreign Ministry warned in 1853," - from the excellent The Balkans: A Short History, by Mark Mazower #EnSonNeOkudun Love this colourful description of inter-group intolerance in the massively cosmopolitan Ottoman Empire, where most groups got along, but didn't necessarily like each other: