It has been quite a while since we met Osman Okkan, personally, maybe the last meeting was even the one at the multi-day seminar in Adrasan, where we met at a seminar about the documentary cinematic presentation of various Turkish authors and their works.
Although there were some telephone calls in between, so that information could flow, however, without a personal meeting.
In the course of one of the most recent works by the documentary filmmaker Osman Okkan and his team, they accompanied the young German-Turkish girl Feride during her journey through the country of her parents and also showed largely unknown sides of a country in impressive pictures from almost three million people left to live in Germany. Hardly anyone of the first immigrants had left their own homeland at their own will. On the contrary, living conditions and hardly any income forced a huge number of Turks to leave their homeland. In the meantime countless Turks in Germany, who know very little about the home country of their parents, or are only able to inform themselves one-sided about the momentary situation in Turkey.
Feride is a young woman from Cologne with Turkish parents who wants to be a journalist. During her internship at a journalist office in Istanbul, she sets out on a cultural tour through Turkey. She learns much more about Turkey and about the recent history of the country, as it is written in the Turkish history books. She takes the viewers on this journey, she meets with journalists, intellectuals and scientists, and gets very personal and exciting impressions of the different chapters of Turkish history. After her journey, Feride sees the Turkish society with a slightly different view and understand many conflicts better, which lead to tensions between the Turks, the Kurds and the Armenians, which today has led to a deep division in the country.
Feride meets with the columnist Halime Kökce and learns how President Erdogan came to power. In the 2002 elections, the AKP, Erdogan's Islamic-oriented party, won the parliamentary elections. After several years in office, Recep Erdogan strikes hard against the opposition, but also against young people and intellectuals. Feride also meets an opposition journalist and an Armenian intellectual who advises the AKP government. It observes how deeply Turkish society is divided these days: Turks, Kurds, and other minorities who want to speak their language and live their culture and are confronted with massive state violence. The attitude of the AKP government to the refugee issue and the relationship between Turkey and the European Union are issues that Feride has to deal with, a journey through a country full of tensions and contradictions.
But Feride is not pessimistic at the end of her journey.
A film by Osman Okkan
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