In the elevator a colleague and I met a Kurdish man who declared that America "is wonderful (because) it is the home of George W. Bush, a hero to the Kurdish people." He thanked my African American colleague for giving the world G.W. Bush. That went over real well.
I certainly don't blame the Kurds for lionizing Bush, since he championed their cause by overthrowing their persecutor Saddam Hussein. Rumblings of Kurdish independence, carving up parts of Iraq, Iran and Turkey for their own independent state, however, do make most Turks insecure and nervous -- they fear their country would dissolve into factions, or at the least they'd lose a chunk of valuable real estate.
If the U.S. advocated a Kurdish state, we might lose Turkey as an ally.
For now the Turkish hope is to give the Kurdish region a bit more autonomy within Turkey, allow its language to be spoken and taught, and account for abuse of Kurds by the police.
The Republic of Turkey, a relatively young country, seems to be emerging from the insecure nationalist requirement that everyone must deny their distinct heritage and identify only as Turks and as Sunni Muslims. In truth, only 70% or 80% of the population is Sunni Muslim. Religious and ethnic minorities
-- Kurds, Armenians, various Muslim sects such as the Shia Alevis, Druze and the mystical Sufi-- struggle to have their views and experiences acknowledged and respected by the larger culture. Turkey is just now beginning to see cultural diversity as a strength rather than a weakness. Future-oriented Turks look admiringly at America's achievement, "out of many peoples and faiths, one nation,"
and hope that their nation may one day soon be psychologically secure and mature enough to achieve the same kind of respect for minorities.