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Guns in Turkish Kurdistan

Guns Firearms Pistols in Turkish KurdistanThe 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 [...]

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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
Travelogue Travel Photos –Travel Guide
Click on map to view route of travel.

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


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

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3691 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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13 comments… add one

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  • Anonymous October 6, 2009, 5:44 pm

    Come on guys those are all blank firing pistols.You need to have a licence in order to buy or sell real pistols in Turkey.We have two types of license for rifled firearms one of them is the concealed carry permit and the other is for keeping at home or business.Every Turkish citizen have right to get a keeping licence if he or she is not sentenced before and above 21 years old also mentally healhty…

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  • Anonymous October 7, 2009, 8:24 am

    Not Kurdish Turkey it is TÜRKIYE

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    • Mostefa September 20, 2010, 11:01 pm

      it is Kurdistan, ok buddy?!

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    • hama December 12, 2010, 7:02 am

      there is kurdish in turkiye and one daya we will controul all turkiye with our leader (ocalan)

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      • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 12, 2010, 10:24 am

        That is a ridiculous thing to say. It is not my impression that this is the intention of the Kurdish people at all.

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  • Anonymous January 10, 2010, 12:47 pm

    bob i am samer and i am travelling to turkey next month and would like to talk to you i am intresting in guns . waiting reply tc bye ( phone number or email? )

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  • Mostefa September 20, 2010, 11:00 pm

    it is Kurdistan, not turkya!!!

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com September 21, 2010, 10:52 am

      “Kurdistan” is a region of the world that spans between Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, but is not a sovereign state. Yes, I was still within the political realm of Turkey when I wrote this article, which is why I say “Turkish Kurdistan.” It is a fact that this area is part of Turkey, it cannot be debated.

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  • Sirdar Dizaye October 2, 2010, 1:03 pm

    I agree that it is safer for citizens to be armed; and am an NRA member. I was curious to read your account of gun laws in Kurdistan because I will be moving there soon and am interested in hunting in the Hawler area.

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  • alan sarwar April 30, 2011, 2:01 pm

    i want to get turkish gun in hawler

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  • Johnny May 11, 2011, 3:56 pm

    There is no such thing as Kurdistan. There are Kurdish people who are indeed living in Turkey. We all peacefully live together in most cases as most Kurdish people have basically become Turkish. Then you have some of these fools who want to randomly start their own country. The day that happens I will be fighting on the front lines slaying as many of them as I can.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com May 11, 2011, 4:21 pm

      Have fun.

      Calling the Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iraq, and Iran is a geographic term, much like you use the term “Patagonia” for southern Chile and Argentina. By calling the region Kurdistan is not referring to it as a country, but a region.

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  • dedeinan June 1, 2015, 2:30 am

    the gun in your hand is a blank firing replica..you can buy it easly for sure.. “Ekol Aras 9mm P.A.K”.

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