Archives for the month of: June, 2013
Best Van Turizm coach we took from Diyarbakir to Duhok ($30).

Best Van Turizm coach we took from Diyarbakir to Duhok ($30).

After the events of my last post (Taksim Square protests) I flew to a city in Eastern Turkey called Diyarbakir, which I’d found earlier was the closest city to the Iraqi border crossing that had both an airport and a bus station which I could find online references to having a bus to Iraq (As a result of the trip it also appears you could fly to the interestingly named city of Batman and catch the same bus later on its route, although I would recommend Diyarbakir for having slightly more things to see and do).

I was travelling with a friend on this trip and we’d anticipated that the Turkish part of the journey would be fairly event free but once we were into Iraqi customs things would quickly become a bit more tense, little did we know the terrifying situation we would be driving into…

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I spent last week in northern Iraq and when I booked the flights six months ago I arranged for a one day layover in Istanbul to get a feel for the place, little did I know that it would end up being a major highlight of this trip. About 2 weeks before my arrival massive protests broke out across Turkey due to anti-government sentiment, in particular a disdain for the current Prime Minister Erdogen, which was all sparked by a plan to redevelop Istanbuls central square (Taksim) and a park (Gezi) into a new complex.

Football fans protest in Istanbul

Football fans protest in Istanbul

I initially vowed to steer clear of those protests as getting caught up in something like this in a foreign country is not really advisable, however, it appeared that the harsh police intervention against these protests was consistently only occurring at night when the crowds were at their lowest numbers. I reckoned that heading there in the afternoon would be reasonably safe and that I would leave immediately at any sign of trouble. When I noticed there was a direct tram straight from my hostel that really sealed the deal.

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