Friday, January 4, 2008

Going, not going?

Turkey is the only country in the world that straddles two continents - Europe to the west and Asia to the east. It also shares its southern and eastern borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran - three countries that most of us associate with terrorist violence.

Yesterday afternoon, a car bomb, targeting Turkish soldiers, killed five people and wounded 68 in the city of Diyarbakir, a predominately Kurdish city located in southeast Turkey. The attack appeared to be in retaliation for three airstrikes by Turkish warplanes against Kurdish rebel shelters in northern Iraq last month. With the aid of US military intelligence to identify Iraqi targets, I expect the Turks will fire back.....and the violence in the region will continue.


Vehicles are engulfed by flames following an explosion in the
southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir on January 3, 2008. Reuters.

Violence is a sad and unfortunate reality of the world we live in today. It happens in far away places and it happens close to home.

Upon reading the news of the bombing in Diyarbakir, Lei raised concern that her husband would not allow her to travel to Turkey. I can understand his concerns as others have raised expressed similar ones to me - especially when I mention I'm headed to any country that's geographically close to the Middle East region. I suggested to Lei that she reassure her husband that no matter how much we wanted to visit Turkey, we would not do it risking our lives. As we plan our trip over the coming months, I will monitor the US State Department Travel Warnings web page for any advisory against travel to Turkey. I don't know whether or not Lei relayed any this information to her husband but today, she emailed me to tell me that her husband has given her the greenlight to go - whatever she said or did to reassure him worked!!

We're on....for now!