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Nomades
(KÖÇERLER)

   

      My father was friendly with the "KÖÇERLER"
(les nomades) They were welcome to pitch their tents in one of our fields while we lived in Hirit. In order to settle for a short period of time these itinerate shepherds would pay a modest rent in cheese, wool and mutton to their farmer host. On the whole, they were a very peaceful lot and my father liked having them around. One of my uncles was not as conciliatory as my father towards the nomads and he wanted to evict a group one day from a field that bordered on his. Several armed men accompanied him and in the ensuing ruckus a shot was fired, seriously wounding the nomad chief's closest friend. The nomad's were furious and my uncle was taken as hostage at gunpoint; if the nomad died he would die in turn. As the men of our family and neighbors went to get reinforcements, the nomads pulled up stakes and disappeared into the mountains, leaving my poor, rash uncle's mutilated body in the place of their camp. This is precisely the justice that reigns in the hinterlands of Turkey. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. It is for a similar reason that my family and I had to emigrate from our native village and become, in our turn, nomads.