Somewhere between 8 and 20 million native Kurdish speakers live in Turkey, though to honour this man and his kin ‘Turkey’ should be in inverted commas. To them, this is not Turkey and they are not Turkish. It is northern Kurdistan, a land traumatised by history.
Past these dwellings, down a steep bank, the Göksu, or “blue water”, flows softly into the Euphrates, the longest river of western Asia.
Şaban, Ali and Ramazan are in their late twenties. They wear dark green trousers and light green shirts, have clean-cut jaw lines and the peculiarly hyper social energy that comes with intense anticipation. They are in charge of counterterrorism and rural policing. On paper this is impressive but in reality it seems to amount to drinking lots and lots of çay, insistently offering bad route advice to cyclists and laughing sententiously.