When I was living in Ankara, I became really good friends with a woman named Berfin from Diyarbakır, who is ethnically Kurdish but otherwise Turkish. (I'm simplifying here.) Her son was in my daughter's class at school, and sometimes after dropping our children off there in the morning, we would head to the Starbucks in my neighborhood, G.O.P., and talk for a long time over coffee. (As I say in my book, I don't even go to Starbucks in the States, but in Ankara it was a useful place to escape from Turkey when I needed a break, and just easy to be in for a few hours.)
Berfin had been working at the American company Johnson & Johnson, but with a pre-school age son and a new baby girl, was having trouble juggling, and quit for a period. Her husband, who also became our friend, was often away for months at a time. He was an engineer and worked on oil rigs on the Caspian Sea and other places.
I came to have a lot of sympathy for the Kurds when I lived in Turkey. In my book, I discuss how important the Treaty of Lausanne has been to the Turks, and I sympathize with them that they snatched from the avaricious British and French (in particular, but there were others) some of the extensive territory they would have lost under the Treaty of Sèvres from 1920. However, the Treaty of Lausanne was massively unfair to the Armenians, and left the Kurds without a state. As I write: the Kurds became a people without a state in an era of fierce nationalism, and have been considered an enemy by all of the new states carved out of the old Ottoman Empire to this day.
Is that, finally, about to change? Not in Turkey, at least not for the moment (and there has always been much paranoia regarding any further loss of territory among the Turks since World War I), but perhaps in the former countries of Syria and Iraq? And if that happens, how will the Turkish Kurds respond? As has been noted, particularly since last summer, it's not a little ironic that the Turkish government as a NATO and U.S. ally, needs the Kurds to fight ISIS.
Meanwhile, my friend Berfin has moved to New Dehli for her husband's job there.