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Guns in Turkish Kurdistan

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Guns Firearms Pistols in Turkish Kurdistan

The first time that I noticed a firearm shop in the Kurdish southeast of Turkey I automatically took it to be a shop that only sold replicas, bb guns, paintball shooters, or just fancy knives. It was not until I took a closer look in the market of Sanliurfa that I noticed that these guns that were being sold were very real.

I became excited. I like guns, and one of my biggest regrets in traveling is that I do not often get to go out shooting or hunting. So, in a nostalgic dream of my home in the countryside of the USA, I entered a couple of these gun shops to look around at what they were selling.
Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Sanliurfa, Turkey- March 25, 2009
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I walked up to the first shop that was in the middle of a crowded market, and began looking through a display case at a collection of pistols.

“Ne kedar? How much is that one?” I asked a shop attendant.

“In dollars or Turkish money?” he responded.

“Turkish money,” I was only curious about the price, and was not really interested in buying a gun.

“For that one,” the attendant spoke while pointing to a nine millimeter pistol, “70 million.”

“What?” I asked not fully understanding his pronunciation.

“Fifty dollars.”

The shop attendant then held up ten fingers five times, indicating that I could buy a nice looking pistol for only fifty USD.

“Can I look at it?” I asked, just wanting to handle a gun for the simple joy of it. I was then ushered into the shop, as the attendant opened the flimsy glass showcase and picked out the pistol that I was pointing at.

He then handed the pistol over to me, and I inspected it as if I was interested in purchasing it. Chaya took photos of me in my backwoods glory. The gun was used but was still in working condition. It was taken aback that I could purchase a pistol in Turkey for so little money.

For only 70 Lira a person can be armed here, no questions asked. This was almost the same amount of money that Chaya and I paid to get from Ankara to Sanliurfa by bus.

I thanked the attendant and walked on to another gun shop and went through the same routine.

It is my impression that places are safer when people other than criminals and police officers have access to mechanisms for self defense. Though I do not think this is the primary intention of these pistols in Kurdish Turkey.

In point, this is a herding region, and shepherds use firearms to protect their flocks, which are their livelihoods and lives. In this instance, the pistol is a tool, not a weapon.

Gun shop in Turkey.

In my backwoods glory inspecting a pistol in Kurdish Turkey.

Checking out a pistol in a gun shop in Kurdish Turkey. This particular gun did not function properly.

I would love to have guns near me every day of the week. I would love to be able to go out and shoot firearms whenever I wanted. Perhaps someday I will again live in the countryside of a country that does not have mindless gun laws, and I can show my daughter how to earn her keep.

But a traveler has no real use for a gun. In point, even if I had a gun I would rarely have the opportunity to use it. In over nine years of travel I have never been in a circumstance in which I felt I needed a gun to defend myself, and only on occasion have I been in places were I would feel secure target practicing or hunting. A pistol is generally a useless device for a traveler.

A traveler needs the evasive instincts of a rabbit, not the talons of an eagle.

So I handed the guns back to the shopkeepers and walked on, dreaming about the days when I will again be able to wield a firearm at will.

Guns Firearms Pistols in Kurdish Turkey

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Filed under: Eastern Europe, Europe, Middle East, Turkey

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3126 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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