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Puking in Diyarbakir and Nemrut Dag

Tweet Now it was time to head north to Diyarbakir. I was pissed at Isik for having sung Mardin folksongs the whole time we were around the region; now as we were approaching the oil wells of Batman, it was payback time: over and over: “Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo BAT-MAN!” After […]

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Threatened Hasankeyf

Tweet All these stories and Kadri suddenly opened up in the car about his family history: Armenian; his grandfather died at 42, Musur, went from Caucus to Iraq, moved to Kiziltepe where one uncle stayed and another liked to whore. We pushed east, through Siverek, and I loathed it. It looked like it was bombed, […]

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Syrian monks at the Saffron monastery

Tweet I was getting to see all the places I wanted and they pretty much let me decide, and I kept saying, east. We drove to Mardin, a city of 60,000 settled at the top part of a hill with a great view of the Syrian plain. It ’s always been very politicized, with lots […]

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The Kurdish lord of Viransehir

Tweet I had big plans for the next day, we’d see monasteries and border towns and Hasankeyf and it would all be just so, but Turkey always seems to get in the way of your plans. Kadri knew an guy in Viransehir, a high-school buddy he hadn’t seen in 41 years, who had become a […]

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Bazaar in Urfa

Tweet The next morning we saw Urfa, and it was like having left the country – very middle-east; little Turkish spoken; Kurdish and Arabic; covered women; men wearing baggy pan ts. First impression is how beautiful it all is. There’s a wonderful section of narrow streets with medieval houses with lattice-windowed overhangs; over the doors […]

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East to the Syrian border

Tweet After three days at Elif’s father’s house in Antalya, swimming and eating as if on a beached cruise ship, Kadri announced that we’d be going east to Nemrut Dag, as if it were a surprise: what the hell else were we going to do there for 15 days? He’d already taught me some pantomime, […]

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In the terrorists’ footsteps

Tweet It was late in the day by the time we got to Erzurum, and it felt as if we had left Kurdistan and entered Saudi Arabia. (Erzurum’s mayor is from the fascist party.) Every woman was covered, some wearing çar?afs – a huge cloth that looks like a gunny sack – and many women […]

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Checkpoints in Kurdistan

Tweet After staying up with our new Israeli friends, we discovered back in the hotel at 12:30AM that there was no water at all; when we called down, they wouldn’t turn it on, saying the city was without water. The next morning (Tuesday the 25th), Elif and Dilek had a little conversation with the owners […]

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Ancient Armenia under military escort

Tweet Four hours later, at 5AM (on Monday the 24th), Dilek is so hot, sleepless, and livid that Co? would treat us this way that she wakes us up. We enter the stinky bathroom and use their shower, which has no showerhead, so we hose ourselves off like mental institution inmates. Co? arrives at 7, […]

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The best little whorehouse in Savsat

Tweet On Sunday the 23rd, Co? decided he wanted to go to Ardanuç, a small town of five thousand people where a friend of his once knew the mayor. Elif refused to have any of it, and when we passed by the turnoff, Co? kept looking back like a petulant child. We drove down into […]

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