In 1999, Kaye Rogan met the man of her dreams on holiday in Marmaris. Their holiday romance soon became an all-consuming love affair. Despite their struggles with the language barrier, family objections, cultural differences and PKK activity, it was a love worth fighting for.
The village buzzed with life. The boy was tempted to join in with a small band of giggling children who were tormenting a shepherd herding his flock along the rutted road. They knew he kept sweets in his trouser pocket and ran alongside him snatching at his hand. Deciding not to participate, the boy carried on past noisy teenage boys who were playing football on a piece of open ground next to the mosque, shouting at the injustice of an own goal. He greeted two men playing backgammon on the step in front of a flat-roofed mud-brick house, while in the garden; the wife of one of them was bathing their son in a large plastic bowl – he protesting loudly at the chill of the water. The boy felt sorry for the child but knew he could not interfere and walking on, a warm, yeasty aroma filled the air as a headscarfed girl took out loaves of bread from the ‘tandir’ oven which stood in the yard next door. An old, flea-bitten dog was sprawled on the pavement and an old man in traditional baggy şalwar slowly stepped around it and acknowledged the boy with a smile and a nod of his head. Scraggy hens scratched the dry earth and were free to wander where they chose. As he passed a gaggle of geese honked savagely and waddled towards the wire fence where they were enclosed and he quickened his pace to avoid being hissed at.
The call to prayer began and soon the menfolk would make their way to the mosque in the square. The boy knew all of the villagers as they were regular visitors to his family home. His father was the Aga, an inherited honour passed down the generations. He was a religious and well-respected member of the community and it often fell to him to sort out disputes about land rights, financial difficulties and negotiate between families on matters of marriage and family honour. That day, his father had been called upon to give advice to a recently bereaved neighbour and the boy knew his father would probably not return until sundown, when he would lead evening prayers with the rest of the family.
The boy could now see his aunt’s house at the far end of the village square. All seemed quiet there and he quickened his pace as he thought about the biscuits and sweets his aunt would have on offer. He stepped over the weeds and stones which led up to the door of the house and tentatively knocked on the door. It was immediately opened by his aunt, who ushered him inside, where he saw that there were several other women sitting on the mismatched cushions on the carpeted floor. They greeted him fondly and offered him ayran, a drink made from yogurt, salt and water, and home-made biscuits. His sense of apprehension went as he found an empty cushion and enjoyed the refreshments. The women chatted amongst themselves in rapid Kurdish, making ribald comments and giggling as they shared anecdotes.