Close
Close

David McDowall

David McDowall’s A Modern History of the Kurds is published by Tauris. His recent visit to Turkey was made under the auspices of the Kurdish Human Rights Project.

Diary: In Diyarbakir

David McDowall, 20 February 1997

The principal city of Turkish Kurdistan is Diyarbakir, a bustling place that in the last fifty years has overflowed its magnificently forbidding basalt walls. These dramatic fortifications – built following the town’s capture by the great Saljuq Malik Shah in 1088 – remain uncluttered and defiant on the southern side: their dark ramparts can be seen from miles away. I remember driving to Diyarbakir as a student in 1967, when the walls were still visible on every side. In those days it held 100,000 inhabitants, of whom only a small minority lived in the new apartment blocks outside the old city. Visitors were rare: the whole eastern region of Anatolia had been closed to foreigners for the preceding three decades.’

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences