Kurdish men, in Kars, Turkey

When I was in Turkey in 2001, I travelled widely in Kurdish regions of eastern Turkey. It was tense then, and remains tense now. The Kurds are one of the victims of the Versailles Peace Treaty that ended World War I, and they were left without a homeland after the colonial powers carved up nation states in the Mideast. Kurds found themselves residents of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and to this day, issues associated with these decisions impact current events daily, if not hourly. This week, more than a 130,000 Kurds fled from Islamic extremists in Syria into Turkey, which has nearly 1 million Syrian refugees. The Kurds, who have fought a civil war against Turkey for years, now may find themselves to be Turkey’s best ally in the latest realignment of interests in this volatile region. What is true one day, may not be true the next day. The Kurds’ old saying remains, the Kurds’ only friends are the mountains. (Click on the photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

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