Lacy MacAuley


a home for my pen, projects, and passions

two sides, Turkish soldiers

The other day, the local mosque here in Antalya, Turkey, played a funeral message for a local soldier killed by the Kurdish resistance party, the PKK, on the eastern side of the country. The sad song was played intermittently throughout the day, and people stopped to listen.

It is mandatory for all Turkish men to serve in the military. Men over 20 must endure 12-15 months of military service, and they do not have the right to be a conscientious objector. The only way out is for men living outside Turkey who can pay somewhere from 4,000 to 8,000 US Dollars (almost as much as the median family income of 8,575 US Dollars).

That means that when the Kurdish forces commit “terrorism” (or acts of war, depending upon your perspective) against the Turkish military, it’s not a career soldier, but the boy next door who dies.


This is me, taking a pic axe to the hard ground to plant cedar trees with the “Red Soldiers” soccer fan club in Antalya, Turkey.

A few days ago I planted cedar trees with the “Red Soldiers.” (Despite the name, they are actually a soccer fan group, not communists, though there are fascinating links between soccer hooligans and activists here in Turkey – for example, soccer hooligans were the actors in some of the memorable moments of Occupy Gezi in 2013.)

Two of the people also planting trees were an older couple with sad smiles. These two, I was told by a friend, lost their only child to the Kurdish forces some years ago while he was serving in the military. Their son had been a “Red Soldier” soccer fan. They come to the events because when they see the young soccer fans, the vigor and the glint in their eyes, they remember their son.

Another reminder that war is hell, for both sides…


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