Soon after the insurgency in Syria got underway, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed his sensitivity about Aleppo for the first time. Around midnight on March 29, 2011, we were on board his aircraft flying back to Turkey from his visit to Iraq. Erdogan had made history as the first Turkish prime minister to pay an official visit to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
We were flying from Erbil back to Ankara, following a dinner given in his honor in the residence of once-and-future KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, in the presence of his uncle and father-in-law, KRG President Massoud Barzani. There were three of us journalists listening to Erdogan; one is now an adviser to Erdogan, who became president in 2014, and the other is at large as a wanted Gulenist following the failed July 15 coup attempt.