Film poster

Perspectives from Turkey in the New Millennium

A Turkish documentary which premiered at the Istanbul Film Festival earlier this month is to have a special screening at the University of Exeter. 

The film is about a famous Turkish folksinger and will form part of an international conference, ‘Perspectives from Turkey in the New Millennium’ 27 – 29 May.

The documentary film ‘Tülay German: Years of Fire and Cinders’ focuses on the folksinger’s life and legacy, thereby providing an insight into a side of Turkey that is relatively unknown outside of the country. The film was co-directed by Didem Pekün and Barış Doğrusöz, both of whom will be at the screening in Exeter. Didem Pekün said, ‘The importance of the film for me is that the singer was part of a forgotten history that we tried to write. Tülay German is a musical cornerstone in Turkish history and her standing as a woman is still much admired. Tülay German's life story also highlights important historical events that have taken place in Turkey in the past 40 years.’

Marc Herzog, who is studying Politics at the University of Exeter, said, ‘The folk singer Tülay German was at the forefront of the re-invention of Turkey‘s musical traditions and her music was groundbreaking by heavily influencing contemporary Turkish popular music and culture. Her music had a strong influence on her generation because it draws on her own cultural heritage and roots.’

The essence of the film fits in neatly with the conference which focuses on identity. Turkey’s self-image has been shaped by both domestic and international factors in the last decade, as Turkey has experienced significant economic, social, and political change. The aim of the conference is to get a more informed understanding of how Turkey’s self-image has been shaped by these recent changes and in its new position as an increasingly prominent actor within international relations.

Professor Stephen Mitchell, lecturer in History at the University of Exeter and director of Exeter Turkish Studies said, ‘The growing significance of Turkey as a regional and world power, as well as the wealth of its historical experience, have been the underlying reasons for the creation of Exeter Turkish Studies as a leading UK research centre. The discussions, by leading figures from politics, the media, business and academia should provide rich and stimulating material for addressing questions of national identity in the complex framework of contemporary international politics.’

The conference is inter-disciplinary and has been working closely with "Netzwerk Türkei", an international network of scholars focusing on Turkey. The conference was organised in conjunction with Exeter Turkish Studies by two postgraduate students at Exeter, Marc Herzog (Politics) and Shane Brennan (Classics).

Date: 26 May 2010

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