A bit sceptical
This morning I talked to some relatives of Turkish soldiers who died in the fight against the PKK in the southeast of the country. I met the relatives in Ankara, at the national office of a support group for wounded veterans and family of killed soldiers. The interviewees and the head of the organisation were a bit sceptical. Why did I want to write about this? What would be the context of the article? I said I write about people that are news themselves or related to news, and killed soldiers are unfortunately almost daily news in Turkey, that you can see the conflict between Turkey and the PKK from a political perspective, but that you can also focus on the human side of it, and that in this article I want to focus on the human side. People lose their loved ones in armed conflict, and I want to write down how that feels, regardless of the politics.
To them of course the whole matter had lots to do with politics. So I wrote that down, besides their feelings as a widow and a father who lost his son. They were glad a newspaper outside Turkey would publish articles about their losses. But, I asked, there must be more foreign journalists coming? No, actually, there were not. Before me, earlier this year one Japanese TV-journalist came, and now me. That was all. For them that lack of interest was another example of how ‘the west’ is on PKK’s side and doesn’t back Turkey in its part of the ‘war against terror’. They were still sceptical: after two, three hours of talk, one of the men made a remark about foreign journalists. ‘We think foreign journalists in Turkey are spies’, he said. He laughed about this ‘joke’, I laughed too, I said I hadn’t yet thought of such a good way to increase my income. When I left, they asked me to send them the article after publication. Even if it was only in Dutch? Yes, they would find someone to translate it. Well, here it is, translated and all.
I wonder if they trust me now.
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