Kurds in Turkey: The Big Change

Stephen Kinzer discusses four books about the Kurds in the New York Review of Books:

KurdsDiyarbakir, in southeastern Turkey, has for centuries been the center of Kurdish political and cultural life. For much of the 1990s it was under a harsh form of military rule. Turkish soldiers and police officers, many in plain clothes, were everywhere. Armored personnel carriers crawled along main streets, manned by soldiers with automatic rifles who kept constant watch over sullen crowds. People who supported the idea of Kurdish nationalism lived in constant fear. Several hundred were murdered on the streets or abducted and tortured to death.

This autumn, I spent a week traveling through the region where guerrilla war was fought for years. My first walk through Diyarbakir made it instantly clear how much has changed. There are no soldiers or armored vehicles on the street anymore. Police officers keep out of sight. Most important, people now say whatever they please.

More here.