Tuesday, October 25, 2011


You may or may not know that Turkey has a "Kurdish issue" which I know far too little about to properly explain. (Time does a pretty good job though.) Although there are some 14 million Kurds living in eastern Turkey (and more in northern Iraq), what you mostly hear about is the PKK, the 30-year-old Kurdish terrorist group, which launches little attacks here and there in that area. As I gather, this entire issue seems to have simmered under the surface, in the sense that it always exists but nothing major (or decisive) ever happens.

Last week, PKK attacks killed 24 soldiers in the east, and for whatever reason, the Turkish govenment decided to launch a major offensive in retaliation. As an interior minister told a TV station last week (via the Daily Hurriyet newspaper), "The ultimate goal is to finish off the PKK." With 10,000 soldiers now in the border area, Turkey is now involved in a little bit of a war - although no one seems to be calling it that.

As a result of the now-escalated conflict, Istanbul is awash in red flags. All of a sudden, they're everywhere, strung across streets and hung proudly from balconies. I took the photos below on Sunday, in Ortakoy. The teenage boy was going around to all the vendors in the street market selling flags and from what I could see, people were snapping them up.

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