Tilkici first appears in the chapter after Zara Ghufran retrieves an Ottoman code book from the wreckage of one of their trains, where he attempts to capture her, mistaking her for T. E. Lawrence. Before he can take action, his group of Ottoman soldiers are ambushed and killed by the rebels as the real Lawrence arrives. Tilkici taunts the rebels, saying that they will soon be "free" after the Canavar, the Ottomans' Armored Train, dispatches them at their base camps. This prompts Zara to punch him, and then cut his right ear with her Jambiya shortly afterwards. The rebels then take him away to one of their base camps for interrogation.
Tilkici reappears later in the chapter, having escaped the rebels and catches Zara by surprise as she tries to send fake messages to the Canavar using the Ottomans' radio stations. After knocking her out, he sends a message for the train to destroy the camp that he broke free from. He then drags her out in the middle of the desert to explain to her, while holding her own jambiya by her throat, what the Ottomans have planned against Lawrence and the rest of the rebels. This gives Zara the opportunity to forcibly twist Tilkici's hand, and shove her stolen dagger through his throat, killing him.