April 11, 2006

Back to Iraq Part III - The Kurdish Disaster

This is the third installment in a Back to Iraq series which is basically a single long essay. Don’t miss Part One and Part Two.

TURKISH KURDISTAN - Sean and I dragged our sorry, exhausted, and malnourished selves to the car at 6:30 in the morning just a few hours northwest of the Turkish-Iraqi border. For the first time we had a look at our surroundings in daylight.

Turkish Kurdistan is a disaster. It is not where you want to spend your next holiday.

One village after another has been blown completely to rubble.

Destroyed Kurdish Village in Turkey.jpg

Destroyed Kurdish Village in Turkey 2.jpg

The Turkish equivalent of roadside Kurdish strip malls have also been blown to pieces, by tank shells, air strikes, or what I could not say.

War Damage Turkish Kurdistan.jpg

Military bunkers, loaded with sand bags and bristling with mounted machine guns, were set up all over the place. Helicopters flew overheard. An army foot patrol marched alongside the highway. Twenty four soldiers brandished rifles across their chests. I slowed the car down as we approached so I would not make them nervous. I could see the whites of their eyes as they stared, deadly serious, at me and Sean. It's too bad neither one of us could take pictures. But we didn't dare. Those soldiers were not just hanging out and they were not messing around.

The civil war in Eastern Turkey didn’t look anything like it was over. I could tell just from driving on through that the Marxist-Leninist Kurdistan Workers Party (the PKK) was still active. How else to explain the full-on siege by the army? The Turks’ treatment of Kurds has been horrific since the founding of the Republic. But the PKK seems hell-bent on matching the Turks with the worst they can muster, including the deliberate murder of Kurdish as well as Turkish and foreign civilians.

The violence is getting worse right now, not better. I would have interviewed people on both sides of this conflict if I had the time. But I didn’t. All I can do right now is link to other reports and tell you about what Sean and I saw from the car.

For a while the highway ran alongside the Syrian border. Turkey walled off the deranged Baathist regime of Hafez and Bashar with a mile-wide swath of land mines wrapped in barbed wire and marked with skulls and crossbones. At one point we could look right into a Syrian town in the distance where Kurds lived in possibly worse conditions than even in Turkey. The Baath stripped Syrian Kurds of their citizenship in the town pictured below for the “crime” of not being Arab.

Looking into Syria from Turkey.jpg

From a distance it appears that the biggest problem in the Middle East is Islamism. That’s probably because Islamism is the worst of the Middle East’s exported problems. Up close, though, the biggest source of conflict seems to be ethnic nationalism. The crackup of the Ottoman Empire has still not settled down into anything stable. Arab nationalism, Turkish nationalism, Kurdish nationalism, and Zionism everywhere create bloody borders and internal repression. And that’s just for starters. Lebanese went at other Lebanese for fifteen long years. Arab Sunni and Arab Shia are slugging it out in Iraq right now as you read this.

Sean was able to sneak a photo of a small Turkish military lookout point on the top of a hill.

Turkish Lookout in Kurdistan.jpg

That was the best we could do without getting pulled off the road and interrogated.

Some Kurdish villages in Turkey still stood. Every one of them, though, looked grim compared to many of those I had seen earlier in Northern Iraq.

Squalid Kurdish Village in Turkey.jpg

The only places in Turkish Kurdistan that looked pleasant were those where no people lived, where there was no dug-in military, where there was no visible poverty, where there were no blown up buildings, and where you did not look across minefields toward Syria on the horizon.

Turkish Kurdistan Countryside.jpg

Sean and I soon came upon the city of Civre that straddled the Tigris River on its winding way to Iraq. I was glad we didn’t spend the night there. It didn’t look like a war zone, as the countryside did, but it did look like a sketchy and miserable place.

“Sean, do me a favor?” I said. “Can you hold my camera at the window and just start taking pictures? I don’t care of they’re photogenic. Just document what this place looks like.”

“Sure,” Sean said and rolled down his window. He snapped pictures of the town as I drove.

Civre 1.jpg

Civre 2.jpg

Civre 3.jpg

Civre 4.jpg

Civre 5.jpg

Housing Blocks in Civre.jpg

Sean looked off to the side. I looked straight ahead.

“Quick, put down the camera,” I said. “Don’t take a picture of those guys.”

Just up ahead in traffic a flatbed truck was loaded down with armed men who looked like guerillas. They wore keffiyehs on their heads. Only Arabs and Kurds wear keffiyehs. Turks never do, at least none that I’ve ever seen. These guys were heavily armed and sloppily dressed. They obviously were not Turkish military. I don’t know if they were PKK or what, but they sure looked like trouble. A military helicopter hovered over another part of the city.

We drove slowly over the Tigris.

Tigris in Turkey.jpg

Every driver in oncoming traffic nervously stared at us. The vibe on the streets was palpably paranoid even from inside the car. It’s so easy to misunderstand what’s going on in a foreign country, especially when you don’t walk around and talk to people. I didn’t know what the real story was. But whatever it was, it wasn’t good.

*

Sean and I left the rental car and our non-essential luggage in a parking lot near the customs gate on our way into Iraq. We stuffed everything we needed - passports, cash, phone number lists, etc. - into our backpacks and started walking. I sure hoped my old fixer Birzo sent somebody to pick us up. We had long been out of email contact, however, and there was no way to know until we got to the other side.

As we approached the first building we were instantly mobbed by a crowd of men.

“Taxi.”

“Taxi.”

“You need a taxi.”

“We’re walking across,” Sean said.

“You can’t walk across,” a man said. “Give me your passports.” He stuck out his hand. “Come on, give me your passports.”

“Who are you?” I said in my don’t-fuck-with-me voice as I sized him up head to toe. He smelled distinctly like trouble.

“I'm a police officer,” he said.

Liar, I thought. Did he think we were stupid? He wore shabby clothes, not an officer’s uniform. And he had the obvious personality of a shake-down artist and braying carpet shop tout.

“Come with me,” he said.

I trusted that he knew the border procedure, but I would not hand him my passport. He led me and Sean into a small room in a trailer where a real police officer sat at a desk. The officer asked for our passports. We handed them over, he wrote down our names, then handed our passports back.

“Here,” our ‘guide’ said. “Get in this taxi.” He opened the back door of a yellow taxi.

“Why,” I said.

“Just get in,” Sean said, clearly annoyed with my resistant attitude. He got in the back. I climbed in after him. Two strangers, both of them men, hopped in as well. One man had horrible pink scars all over his face and his hands.

“Why do we need a taxi?” I said. “I’d rather walk.”

“No one can walk across this border, my friend,” our fake-policeman-driver-guide said. “It will cost fifty dollars.”

Fifty dollars?” I said. “For what? For a one-minute drive down the street? Come on.”

Sean put his hand on my shoulder. He was feeling much more patient than me. “Did you notice what happened back there?” he said to me quietly.

“No,” I whispered. “What did I miss?” I was a cranky sleep-deprived zombie.

“We jumped to the front of the line and no one complained.”

He was right. There was a huge line of people waiting for taxis. Mr. Fake Police Officer Man yanked us right to the front. I decided to cut him some slack. Yes, he was ripping us off. But he was also speeding us up.

We pulled up to the side of a building. The man with the horrible pink scars on his face got out.

“Follow that man,” our driver said. “He knows what to do.”

We followed him to a drive-thru type window and handed our passports to the border official. He stamped us out of the country and we were set.

“Do you know why that man’s face looks like that?” Sean said on our way back to the taxi.

“No,” I said. “Do you?”

“He's Iraqi," Sean said. "Those scars are burns from chemical weapons. I’ve seen photos online. I know that’s what happened to him.”

We drove through a post-industrial wasteland of devastated buildings, piles of scrap metal and box cars, an unfinished international highway, and derelict drive-thru gates that presumably were closed after the Saddam regime's batshit behavior required a long-ago shutdown of the Turkish side of the border. After a quick hop over a one-way bridge we were inside Iraq. The Iraqi side was cleaner, more orderly, more prosperous, and far more soft on the eyes than the Turkish side. I wish I could have taken some pictures for contrast. I swear it felt like the sun came out and the birds started chirping as we left Eastern Turkey behind.

A Peshmerga guard stood in front of the customs house wearing a crisp professional uniform.

“Choni!” I said. Hello, in Kurdish.

Everyone in the car flashed him our passports. He smiled and waved us past a sign that said "Welcome to Iraqi Kurdistan Region."

Inside the immigration office a bad Syrian soap opera played on TV. Sean and I were told to sit down in the waiting area after we turned in our passports at the front desk. A young man brought us overflowing glasses of hot sticky brown tea on little plates with dainty spoons.

"Well," Sean said as he flicked his eyes around the room. "We're here."

A portrait of Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani hung on the wall.

Barzani.gif

I knew I would go back to Iraqi Kurdistan. But I could hardly believe I was back there already.

The customs boss came out from behind the desk and walked up to me and Sean.

"What do you guys do?" he said. "Are you NGOs?"

"You won't believe me when I tell you," I said.

He raised his eyebrows.

"We're tourists," I said.

He laughed. "Welcome to Kurdistan! How long do you want to stay?"

"We're just here for the day," Sean said.

He laughed again. "How long will you be here, really?" he said. "Two weeks? A month?" He spread out his hands.

“I swear to God,” I said, “we are going back to Turkey today. I've been here before. Sean hasn't. We were just in the area and I want to show him Dohok."

He smirked at us, indicating he was willing to play along with what he thought was a ruse. "Welcome," he said. "Welcome."

"Sozpas," I said. Thank you, in Kurdish.

"Thank you," Sean said.

“You need to learn Kurdish” the man said to Sean. “Your friend will teach you Kurdish!”

“We’re only going to be here for one day,” I reminded him. He laughed and shook his head. “I only know a few words of Kurdish myself.”

"What else can you say?" he said.

"Choni. Nosh," I said. Hello and Cheers. "A few other things."

He grinned and patted both of us on the back. “Welcome, my American friends!” he said. “Have a wonderful time while you’re here.”

The whole thing was just weird. I don’t quite know how to convey how surreal it is to leave a country that maybe, just maybe, might join the European Union and enter a country that is a poster-child for wrenching war-torn catastrophe and have everything around me dramatically improve all at once. But that's how it goes these days when you cross into Iraq from Turkey. Even though Sean had never been there before, he, like me, breathed a sigh of relief at our arrival in a tranquil place at peace with itself.

Read Part Four.

Post-script: If you enjoy these travelogues and if you've learned something new, please hit my tip jar. I am not independently wealthy and I can only afford to write this sort of thing if I’m paid. Many thanks for your support so far.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at April 11, 2006 11:10 PM
Comments

Whoa! This is fantastic stuff! Thank you for your tenacity and honest reportage. Thank Sean, too!

Posted by: fish at April 12, 2006 02:42 AM

I still can't believe you chose to spend your non-journalistic "vacation" to see an old friend romping around the backwaters of Turkey and going to Kurdistan.

I guess you finally got to see Zakho. I await the pictures.

BTW, since you obviously weren't consuming much news while driving through the night without food or medicine, while you were in the Kurdish regions of Turkey major clashes were going on. In fact, as you probably know now, they're still going on.

I still can't believe it.

Posted by: lebanon.profile at April 12, 2006 02:54 AM

O.K., I did hit the PayPal button - for Sean, that is. Clearly you need a chaparone and Sean did that pretty well. You're good with words and the camera, but it was Sean who pulled you through on the road and was observant enough to really grasp what was happening around you.

Can you imagine making this trip successfully by yourself? Neither can I.

Posted by: Wayne at April 12, 2006 06:01 AM

You ARE insane, dear Michael -- but I love to read your descriptions of your journies.

Your wonderful Kurds are, unfortunately, not so far above the "Presidential Cult" / neo-King; other anti-establishment Kurds seem to have been losing some of their freedom to complain.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Libertay Dad at April 12, 2006 06:04 AM

Very good piece Michael. Eastern Turkey never gets any attention in the US. The Turkish government doesn't appreciate it when people shed light on what's going on out there.

Posted by: vanya at April 12, 2006 06:40 AM

Okay, Totten, with this article you've finally done it.

You've forced me to contribute to your cause.

Great stuff.

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at April 12, 2006 07:10 AM

Hey Vanya (or anyone else interested in Turkish Kurdistan): Ever see Yilmaz Güney's classic film Yol? An absolutely devastating look at life for the Kurds (among others) in eastern Turkey.

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at April 12, 2006 07:40 AM

I stand by my insanity claim from your last post...you're just nuts. Normal people do not do this! LOL And I'm so glad you're weird because this is absolutely fascinating. My stomach was clenched while reading this one. I still wish you coulda snapped a few covert photos though. :)

Waiting breathlessly for the next installment.

Posted by: Megs at April 12, 2006 08:49 AM

Yes, YOL is a fantastic film. Ever since starting reading this I've been trying to remember the title. Incredible vast landscapes but also quite a drama. Thanks Pete (Alois). I want to see it again.

Note that Michael becomes ever bolder. For those who have followed the blog for some time it's a fascinating development. Many other blogs have become more inwardly-focussed, functioning as echo-chambers or cults of personality, riffing only on what they read in the New York Times, Reuters or the Washington Post.

Michael has gone far beyond that.

Posted by: ignacio at April 12, 2006 08:54 AM

Wayne: Can you imagine making this trip successfully by yourself?

Sure. Try to imagine Sean making this trip by himself. :)

Thanks for hitting the tip jar.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 12, 2006 09:03 AM

Glad you got to see one of the greatest films I know of anywhere, Ignacio.

I am embarrassed to admit that I tried to talk Michael into getting out of Lebanon back when he first encountered the Hezbollah nasties. I'm glad he didn't listen to me (but also glad that he's okay). The result of his time in the Middle East is turning into some of the best journalism I've seen in years.

(Okay Michael, you can open your eyes now.)

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at April 12, 2006 09:04 AM

But didn’t the democratically elected government of Turkey discover that the Kurds were Socialist Terrorists?

And we all know how leftists terrorists should be treated.

Posted by: hr puff&stuff at April 12, 2006 09:36 AM

Amazing, thanks Michael. Can't wait for the book.

And I thought it was disconcerting going from West Berlin to East Berlin in 1990.

Posted by: rbj at April 12, 2006 09:39 AM

"Arab nationalism, Turkish nationalism, Kurdish nationalism, and Zionism everywhere create bloody borders and internal repression."

Michael, can't you just call it "Jewish nationalism"? that's all Zionism is. This reads like it's some special animal of its own, which is how the anti-Israel people use it, in order to discredit it. Zionism is just the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, like all these others.

Posted by: Yehudit at April 12, 2006 09:50 AM

I like these Kurds. If they were given their own country, it would quickly rise to become the most prosperous and sane in the middle east.

God bless the Kurds, and God bless America.

Posted by: Carlos at April 12, 2006 09:59 AM

I've become addicted to your blog.

Can't wait for your book to be writin

Thanks for the advice about YOL Paul. I ordered

it off the internet and I'll have it in a

couple of days

Posted by: Pamela at April 12, 2006 10:34 AM

I've become addicted to your blog.

Can't wait for your book to be writin

Thanks for the advice about YOL Paul. I ordered

it off the internet and I'll have it in a

couple of days

Posted by: Pamela at April 12, 2006 10:35 AM

I've become addicted to your blog.

Can't wait for your book to be writin

Thanks for the advice about YOL Paul. I ordered

it off the internet and I'll have it in a

couple of days

Posted by: Pamela at April 12, 2006 10:35 AM

Great writing, I very much enjoyed reading this. Thanks for bringing a far away land a little closer. Stay safe in your travels.

Posted by: C.S. Scott at April 12, 2006 10:38 AM

Pamela--

You'll be glad you ordered Yol. Also, BTW, it's got one of the best soundtracks you'll ever hear. Bonus.

Pete

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at April 12, 2006 10:40 AM

Thank-you Pete

Posted by: Pamela at April 12, 2006 10:49 AM

This is terrific gonzo reporting Michael. Thanks for sticking your neck out. I was a fan of Steven Vincent's, though, and reading the last bits about the border crossing and the disbelieving customs agent, I found myself flashing on Steven and his tragic fate in Basra.

For the first time in months, I clicked over to Steven's site. His publisher put up posts about the fiftieth birthday he never reached and a report on targeted journalists. Comments (0). Adieu, Steven.

I admire your courage and conviction. Maybe I am just an anxious old auntie, but I fear for you too. I hope Iraqi Kurdistan is just one chapter in a long and distinguished career.

All the best.

Posted by: robert at April 12, 2006 11:14 AM

Gripping.

I have got to buy your book when it comes out.

Posted by: Paul Brinkley at April 12, 2006 11:26 AM

Yehudit: Michael, can't you just call it "Jewish nationalism"?

That's a phrase I don't really read or hear. Is there something un-PC about "Zionism"? Israelis use it, as well as anti-Israelis.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 12, 2006 11:33 AM

I am reminded that Winston Churchill was a war correspondent in Cuba during the Cuban War of Independence (1895), in the North-West Frontier campaign in India 1897 and in the Sudan campaign of 1898. If you haven't read "The River War" you should.

Posted by: RKV at April 12, 2006 11:34 AM

Michael,

I think Yehudit is off base, but you are also being inaccurate to use Zionism as the Jewish version of "Arab nationalism." Jewish nationalism and Zionism are not necessarily the same thing. Zionism, to quote Wikipeida, "is a political movement and ideology that supports a homeland for the Jewish People in the Land of Israel." Zionism is not about hating other people or assigning primacy to Jews. I would read Jewish nationalism as an ideology that believes in Jewish solidarity against outsiders whether or not you are in Israel, and that could be read as hating other people. Many Jews are Jewish nationalists and Zionists. But there are many Zionists who are not necessarily Jewish nationalists, especially in the earlier socialist tradition of Zionism. You could also be a Jewish nationalist, and be opposed to a homeland for the Jewish People in the Land of Israel, as some ultraorthodox sects believe. You could also be an Israeli nationalist but not a Zionist, if you believed for example that Israel should be for Israelis but not be an open homeland for any part-Jew from Russia or Ethiopia who feeels like moving in. If this is beginning to sound like "Life of Brian", well that bit about the Judean People's Front, etc. is probably as accurate a description of Middle Eastern Culture as ever put on screen.

Posted by: vanya at April 12, 2006 01:05 PM

Yehudit and Vanya,

Don't make a big deal out of the fact that I put Arab Nationalism and Zionism in the same sentence. I'm not equating, say, Shimon Peres and Hafez Assad or anything like that. Zionism is, at least in some ways, more liberal than Arab nationalism. But that doesn't mean the two don't crash into each other and create ethnic conflict in the old Ottoman lands, which was my point.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 12, 2006 01:31 PM

Another amazing glimpse at places we would otherwise never see or hear about.

Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: TallDave at April 12, 2006 02:13 PM

I too did a pause for the cause, under my real name, but wanted to pop in and tell you how much I enjoyed you allowing me to join you in your adventure....virus and all!

One of my goals for my future is a trip to Iraqi Kurdistan.

Posted by: DagneyT at April 12, 2006 02:38 PM

Great stuff, Michael. Reads like a non-fiction best seller (nobody would believe it as fiction). I'm glad you made it out in once piece.

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at April 12, 2006 04:02 PM

Thanks, Michael. Compelling stuff. Stay safe.

Posted by: Sweetie at April 12, 2006 04:12 PM

My aunt is from Zakho (she's a Syriac).

My maternal grandmother is from Mardin by the way (syriac too). You should go there, Mardin is really beautiful.

Concerning the Syrian Kurds, not all were stripped from their nationality in the 50's, 'only' 300 000 of them were, roughly 25% of the community.

You're one of the few blogs on the net that I like. I'll donate something as soon as I find a job:)

Posted by: Montreal at April 12, 2006 05:09 PM

Wonderful wonderful stuff -- a fantastic romp. Don't have PayPal, but will get it if only to bribe you to write more and more.

Posted by: curt at April 12, 2006 05:14 PM

Mike,

This is fascinating stuff. Totally fascinating. I'm jealous.

Having said that, I don't know how to square your vision of Iraqi Kurdistan with the low-key but steady mutter I've heard there that people are really unhappy with the political parties and government, who turn out to be surprisingly corrupt.

Your vision of Turkey is dead-on though. It's an untold story, exactly how horribly disfigured the whole country has been by the Kurdish civil war, and exactly how deep runs the outright hatred. I don't support Kurdish independence, but God help you if you are a Kurd in that country.

Bordering Iraq and Syria, the country hangs on to a vestige of Western liberalism by its fingernails.

Posted by: Glasnost at April 12, 2006 05:31 PM

I'm not surprised to see you pulling stuff like this. My respect for Mr. LaFreniere rises, however - and he proves to be quite observant and deductive as well. A boon companion for a troubled part of the world.

It's a 24-carat indictment of most media outlets today that we've never seen or heard stuff like this before you came along to do it.

Perhaps if TIME's Baghdad bureau chief spent less time lying in return for access with al-Qaeda and fascist revanchists in Iraq, they would be able to find the time and make the effort....

Posted by: Joe Katzman at April 12, 2006 10:21 PM

I'm sure that Iraqi Kurdistan is incredibly corrupt compared to Switzerland or even the US (Alabama? Chicago? Brooklyn cough,cough) but Kurdistan is still a Mediterranean country after all. Turkey is very corrupt. Italy is very corrupt - I think it currently ranks 135th in the world. If you think there's no corruption in Israel you're naive. Even Japan is a cesspool of corruption, a place where the line between private business, government and organized crime are pretty blurred. All these countries are pretty successful nonetheless and manage to provide their citizens with opportunities and decent lives for the most part. I don't think anyone would argue that Iraqi Kurdistan is perfect, but it does seem pretty good compared to its neighbors, and every step forward is important.

Posted by: vanya at April 13, 2006 06:35 AM

Nice writing. Took me back to 1975 when I did a similar trip Istanbul-Ankara-Adana-Eastern Turkey-Iraq Border - Mosul - Tikrit in a FIAT 124 with wife and 3 kids! The place does not seem to have changed much in 30 years. I had to pay 500 Turkish to cross the border in my own car.

Posted by: Indian.Footloose at April 13, 2006 07:14 AM

Thanks for the tip and the kind words. I definitely wouldnt have made this trip with out Michael. But I am glad that I did and am now greatly emboldened to go strange places. My blog will feature a few more exotic travel stories on my own in the very near future. But Mike remains the trailblazer here. Cheers, Sean.

Posted by: sean at April 13, 2006 07:52 AM

"But the PKK seems hell-bent on matching the Turks with the worst they can muster, including the deliberate murder of Kurdish as well as Turkish and foreign civilians."

Isn't that the faction that "Hitch" supports?

And remind me why should any rational person support one side over another in these insane wars?

Posted by: diana at April 13, 2006 05:59 PM

Diana,

Hitch supports the Kurds generally, not the PKK. Unless you've read something of his that I missed?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 13, 2006 06:12 PM

Diana,

I agreee 100% with you. You cannot get a peaceful enivornment in Middlle East by supporting a bloody war. If you fund the PKK, they will have more weapons, and in return Turkey will be armed more. And everyone knows that Turkish Army is the second largest army in entire world and it's impossible to make him accept to divide the country by force. If you believe in peace, you (I mean in general)should think dialectic. You should not support force against force, you should support democracy, you should fight against poverty to make the Middle East Peace Land.

Peace for all.

Posted by: hakanbulut at April 15, 2006 06:30 AM

terrific and addictive blog..thanks for being objective and calling a geography by it is real,historic name "kurdistan".thanks also for shedding some light on turkish army"s destruction and terror of kurdish countryside. looking forward to the the book.
'

Posted by: botan at April 15, 2006 04:28 PM

Your description of the paranoic/civil war environment in SE Turkey clears up, to me, the reason why the Turks would not allow the US through the area to attack Iraq from the north.

It appears the central government did not want it generally known that there was actually a rebellion going on and afraid we may do something to support the Kurds in the area.

Posted by: Willik at April 15, 2006 11:36 PM

The only problem with the above conclusion is that, in fact, it is generally known that there is a not only a rebellion, but a civil war going on in eastern Turkey.

Regarding the terrbile destruction that Michael Totten describes so well, it wasn't the Turkish government which started the war. The PKK is clearly to blame here.

I am just glad that the PKK does not represent all Kurds, and it is a credit to the citizenry of Turkey that they too recognize this truth. For, despite the animosity between the PKK and the Turkish government, the Turks of Anatolia do not have any personal vendetta against Kurds. Kurds live throughout Turkey, not just in one section. And in places like Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Mersin, or even little towns like Duzce most ethnic groups (including Kurds) are able to live and work in peace and harmony, are able to be friends with all of their neighbors of every nationality and ethnic background.

Posted by: Gene at April 18, 2006 02:37 PM

Thanks Michael cant wait for the book.

How Incorrect is it to say that one party is to blame for a war,
i can remember that the PKK and Ocalan the leader of the PKK have so many time called for a political solution,

i think that the biggest problem in turkey is that, the army isn’t a part of the Turkish government,
and so i ask you how can u make peace whit an army that is so influential because of the war,

lets hope that Turkey will go trough a change while trying to join the EU that will benefits the Turks and the Koerds.

And I also saw some one saying that he or she is not supporting the Kurds becoming in depended,

To that, I think it the right of all the people to have a country and be in depended,

I hope that what happened in Montenegro will be an new chapter for all the those people longing for a home.

Posted by: John at May 24, 2006 06:47 AM

Your trip into the Koordish region was amazing! listen im only fourteen and im living in england - i was living in koordistan until i was nine, and the description and the photos were very moving - a lot more has happend than you know of i was living in a town called Alxas (allkas - pronounciation) and my village was attacked once by republicans of saddam, saddams forces had not gone underground! my mother was taken away from my family. i hope for you to e-mail me with other information about your time in kurdistan and could you please tell me what it is like in koordistan now?

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美国国家大学
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Posted by: 三红西水 at August 29, 2007 11:27 PM

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求购货架 
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折叠式仓储笼
折叠式仓储笼

Posted by: huojia at November 14, 2007 07:04 PM

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化学试剂
大众搬场
铁艺
制服
多轴器
流量计
保洁
上海公兴搬场
上海保洁

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Posted by: Jing-Xian-Wang-Luo at December 6, 2007 11:48 PM

Well expressed opinions.
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Posted by: Johno at December 30, 2007 01:43 AM
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