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David Barchard (1947–2020)

The late David Barchard, who tragically died in York on Christmas Day, 2020, after a walking accident two days earlier, was the Financial Times correspondent in Turkey during the 1980s and has travelled widely in Turkey.

A former member of the Council of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara and the UK Turkish Area Study Group, he was also an authority on the Byzantine rock monasteries of Cappadocia and in 1995 helped rediscover the late Roman Village of Sykeon near Beypazari in Ankara province. In recent years he had been writing a set of studies of Turkish-European relations over the last two hundred years, including the Eastern Question and Turcophobia, and he lectured widely on Turkish politics and economics as well as late Ottoman history.

He was the author of Asil Nadir and the Rise and Fall of Polly Peck, three monographs on Turkish-European relations in the late twentieth century, and a so far unpublished study of the last century of Cretan history and the Cretan Muslims under Ottoman rule.

His book Land of Lakes: The Rebirth of Southeastern Anatolia is available from our online store

Also see:


  • The way we saw Turkey

    From Issue 60
  • All to play for

    From Issue 59

    David Barchard on the ‘blurring of the lines between football and politics’, and Şevket Pamuk’s ‘lucid and immensely useful account of the country’s economic growth over the past 200 years’

  • The infinite skies

    David Barchard’s tribute to the late Kaili Kidner, pioneering balloonist

    From Issue 59
  • Imaginary Turkey (book review)

    A review of David S Katz's The Shaping of Turkey in the British Imagination, 1776–1923

    From Issue 57
  • Written Out of History

    Online article

    Plucked from obscurity to become minister of war seven times, Hasan Riza Pasha is ignored by British and Turkish historians alike. Yet he deserves credit for his role in crucial reforms that prevented the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. David Barchard on a forgotten force behind the throne.

  • Of monks and generals

    Byzantine books

    From Issue 11

    Byzantine books: essential reading by David Barchard

  • The Grandest Vizier

    Ottoman Lives

    From Issue 53

    Few statesmen of the turbulent last years of the Ottoman Empire can have held more illustrious titles – at a less auspicious time – than the diminutive Küçük Said Pasha. David Barchard looks back over the eventful and chequered career of a man of many parts

  • Parallel Lives

    From Issue 27

    Both were ambitious men with a penchant for poetry who suffered extremes of fortune. David Barchard charts the ties between two dominant figures in nineteenth-century Turkey, the British Ambassador Stratford Canning, and the Ottoman sultan Mahmut II

  • Setting the Scene: Strangers in a Strange Land

    The Euroean City

    From Issue 52

    Until the 20th century, visitors would sail serenely into Istanbul to disembark opposite the Topkapi. After this spectacular start, reality would set in

  • Istanbul’s Darkest Hour

    Forgotten History

    From Issue 50

    David Barchard on the momentous events one hundred years ago when one devastating Balkan War led to a second, threatening the very existence of Istanbul

  • The Patriot

    From Issue 38

    As Bursa lay in ruins after the earthquake of 1855, the man the Sultan sent to rescue the city was Ahmed Vefik Pasha. A brilliant man of letters, champion of Ottoman causes and very undiplomatic diplomat, he was to leave an indelible mark on Turkish culture. David Barchard reinstates a wayward hero.

  • Living the Dream

    From Issue 51

    David Barchard reviews ‘The Emperor Tea Garden’

  • Clerical Error

    The lethal mischief of Canon MacColl

    From Issue 48

    Malcolm MacColl is little known today. But this London vicar – a friend of Gladstone – was the man behind a storm of anti-Turkish sentiment across 19th-century Britain. In a compelling extract from his new book, ‘Ottoman Lives’, David Barchard reveals that the MacColl affair was all based on a terrible misunderstanding

  • Stopping Train to Georgia

    From Issue 12

    Step off the train at Sapanca, only an hour from Istanbul, and you step unexpectedly into eastern Black Sea life, for its inhabitants came here a century ago from the Caucasus. Despite its position on a major route, travelled by all the charcters of Turkey’s history, this small town remains sublimely innocent of its importance. David Barchard wonders why. Photographs by Jean Marie del Moral

  • The Princely Pasha of Crete

    From Issue 30

    Giritli Mustafa Naili was a boy soldier who became one of the richest men in the Ottoman Empire, ruling Crete with an even-handedness many foreigners admired. By David Barchard

  • Frontier Castle

    From Issue 14

    High on a honey-coloured Cappadocian hillside, a remarkable Frenchman set himself the challenge of restoring the crumbling stone houses in the village of Uçhisar. Today, lovingly brought back to life, they stand tall once again. David Barchard was bewitched. Photographs: Sigurd Kranendonk

  • Arif Mardin

    Profile of an arranger and producer

    From Issue 11

    Where would American pop be, asks David Barchard, without Arif Mardin, who left his venerable Ottoman family for a mixing desk in the US?

  • The Brothers Mango

    From Issue 19

    Cyril Mango has long been an authority on Byzantium. Now Andrew Mango has published an important biography of Atatürk. Yet the brothers were brought up in Istanbul between the wars in a pool of European culture barely touched by Turkish politics. They told their story to David Barchard. Portrait by Charles Hopkinson

  • Salisbury explained

    From Issue 21

    A Titan of the Victorian age, Lord Salisbury presided over a period of unprecedented peace. But his deeply flawed views on the Eastern Question were indirectly responsible for Turkey’s entry into the Great War, says David Barchard

  • The Crimean War: The Real Reason Why

    From Issue 49

    The war of 1853–56 was a calamitous clash of imperial ambitions. Turkey sustained heavy losses, but without them she might have ceased to exist. David Barchard puts the conflict in context

  • The Land that Midas Touched

    A walk on the wild side in the Phrygian Highlands

    From Issue 39

    Phrygia, in western Anatolia, was one of the most powerful kingdoms in the Near East – home to Midas, Gordius and Alcibiades. Today the remnants of their lives litter this forgotten landscape, abandoned by all but a few villagers who still tell stories of the unfortunate king who lived to regret his golden gift. David Barchard heads to the Phyrigian highlands to explore a land of myth and mystery. Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

  • Setting the World to Rights

    From Issue 35

    In March 1856 the eyes of the world were on a group of men seated around a table at the Quai d’Orsay. The future of Europe hung in thre balance. On its 150th anniversary David Barchard reflects on the Congress of Paris

  • By Horse Through the Volcanic Valleys

    From Issue 35

    Cappadocia, ‘Land of the Beautiful Horse’, was once famous for the fine steeds that bore its valiant knights. Few horses are left, but they can still transport you into another world. The photographer Jürgen Frank captures the eerie magic of the Anatolian plateau, Susan Wirth is exhilarated by five days in the saddle and David Barchard guides us through the epic landscape.

  • Bloodshed in the Balkans

    From Issue 47

    The First Balkan War, a hundred years ago, is an obscure affair, overshadowed by the First World War that followed. But it ended the Ottoman Empire in Europe and came close to ending Turkey itself. It left almost half a million refugees and three times as many dead.
    David Barchard tells the story of a catastrophic conflict

  • Churches of the Rock

    From Issue 11

    High on the central Anatolian plateau, the craggy undulations of Cappadocia’s volcanic landscape conceal a silent world: countless Byzantine sancturies and cathedrals lovingly hollowed from the rock. David Barchard finds two valleys undisturbed since the Dark Ages. Photographs by Sigurd Kranendonk

  • Relative Values

    The Whittall dynasty

    From Issue 18

    One hundred and ninety years after the young Charlton Whittall first opened for business in Izmir, the members of this great dynasty are dispersed throughout the world. In June 359 descendants gathered at a reunion in London to celebrate the one thing that still inspires them all: their memories of life in Turkey. By David Barchard

  • The Doorman’s Son who Saved the Empire

    Âli Pasha

    From Issue 31

    Born into penury, he rose to be revered across Europe. Yet the Ottoman Empire’s youngest ever grand vizier is all but forgotten at home. David Barchard charts the dramatic career of the master strategist Âli Pasha

  • Our Man in a Maelstrom

    From Issue 47
  • Diary of the Emerging Republic

    From Issue 17

    David Barchard on the birth of modern Turkey

  • The Republic

    From Issue 17
  • Ambassador Extraordinary

    From Issue 16
  • A Guide to the Guides

    From Issue 1

    Some of the books David Barchard mentions in this article, from our launch issue in 1992, have been reprinted. Others can be sourced second-hand.

  • Poetic Justice

    From Issue 22

    Nothing in late Ottoman culture would lead us to expect that Turkey’s greatest poet by far in the twentieth century would be a figure like Nazım Hikmet…

  • Lady of Letters

    From Issue 30

    There are certain books one falls in love with at first reading. This, for me, is one of them.

  • Home Coming

    From Issue 42
  • State of the Union

    From Issue 36
  • Turbulent Times

    From Issue 41

    David Barchard goes back to the year that ended Ottoman absolutism

  • Wizard of Of

    From Issue 27
  • The Quiet Opposition

    From Issue 29
  • Crimean Punishment

    From Issue 33
  • Perspectives on History

    From Issue 38
  • Reality Check

    From Issue 43
  • The Unlucky Prince

    From Issue 34
  • Out of the shadows

    From Issue 39
  • The Unknown Soldiers

    From Issue 44
  • Museum Pieces

    From Issue 43
  • Monumental Discoveries

    From Issue 28
Buy the latest issue
Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
£ 15.00

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