The Middle East’s travelling storytellers


A low, throaty voice worked its way through the city of Diyarbakır, reaching further than it had any right to. Even without understanding a word of Kurdish, I had no doubt about the sorrow it expressed through its mournful tones.

Regarded as the capital of Turkish Kurdistan, Diyarbakır (Amed in Kurdish) is perched on a bluff overlooking the turbulent Tigris River in south-eastern Turkey. I visited in summer when the heat was stifling, the surrounding countryside scorched yellow. The sun fell heavy on the city’s foreboding black basalt walls, which absorbed its warmth and radiated it back out again.