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Sarah Pannell

East of the Euphrates

Turkey’s Southeastern Anatolia region is not a common destination for foreign travellers, owing much to years of conflict and tension between the Turkish government and the Kurdish PKK. Considered the Kurdish heartland of Turkey, this region has been thrust into the global spotlight in recent months due to the ongoing ISIS conflict in Northern Syria.

This series does not seek to illustrate the deeply complex current political situation in Turkey nor its turbulent history, but rather express the beauty and unique nature of a seriously misunderstood and unrecognised region of Turkey.

Originating in Eastern Turkey, the Euphrates river forms a rough linguistic and ethnic divide through Southeastern Turkey, with the majority of those to the East, Kurdish. Not only is the river an essential water and power source for those living along its course, but it also holds great historical significance. Due to the current crises in Syria and neighbouring Iraq, these provinces have come under additional strain, as host to an overwhelming and rapidly growing refugee influx.

As a solo traveller, I found myself constantly overcome by the generous and hospitable nature of the locals I met and spent time with. A challenging yet equally rewarding region of the Turkey, East of the Euphrates aims to demonstrate the distinctive charm and geographical significance of Turkish Kurdistan.

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