My journey started in Ankara, with a group of ﬁve others from the think-tank The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. After discussing the ofﬁcial Turkish view, we ﬂew to Diyarbakir in eastern Turkey from where we started a drive that would take us through Iraq, from north to south, five hundred miles or so, in ten days. It was perhaps not an ‘essential journey’ in terms of Foreign Office advice to travellers, unless you considered getting an on-the-ground perspective to be essential – which we did.
Turkish ofﬁcials refused to acknowledge the presence of Kurdistan Democratic Party ﬁghters at the crossing point. They admitted only to having weekly meetings with an American colonel said to be in command there. He was invisible to us, as were most of the hundred thousand American troops plus other coalition forces stationed in Iraq.