In the Turkish highlands so high that the silver skies almost touch the top of his head, the homesick Afghan shepherd prepares his baaing sheep for a nice shear. The pebbly valley behind him was once teeming with Kurds who mounted a brutally crushed insurrection in Tunceli during the early years of the current Turkish state.
However, the Kurds in the eastern Mercan Valley have increasingly been displaced by Afghans who escaped poverty and conflict in their native country by foot and truck via Iran. With two decades of fighting behind them, some are considering returning, despite the resurgent Taliban’s strict leadership, according to AFP. ‘Nobody would leave their nation unless they had to,’ said Hafiz Hasimi Meymene, a 20-year-old with a fiancee waiting for him in Afghanistan.
‘We come here, make money through shepherding, and transfer it to our family,’ he continues. The Afghan family’ new houses are a smattering of canvas tents fastened down to the rough earth around him. A few guys huddle in a shed, milking their sheep and goats. With a smack of a thin stick, their pal herds the flock into an enclosure. Meymene, according to AFP, stated, ‘I will return to Afghanistan next year. The conflict is ended When the (Afghan) state was battling the Taliban, the economy suffered greatly. However, we want to return ‘,he added.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes that 300,000 Afghans currently reside in Turkey, which also houses 3.7 million Syrian refugees. Mustafa Acun, a resident of Tunceli, says the villagers have become accustomed to Afghans tending to their livestock. The 67-year-old works alongside them, preparing sheep’s milk cheese and yoghurt. ‘I mean, our children either can’t or don’t want to perform this work,’ he explains, rising from his stool and tending to some sizzling pots over an open flame. It’s a rather perilous job.