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Untold stories of Turkish minorities and endangered languages

12 June 2023 • 3:45 – 5:45 pm CEST
Bem Cinema

Join us on a captivating journey at Bem Mozi through the MARC (Minorities, Accountability, Rights, and Collaboration) programme of Minority Rights Group, where we delve into the untold stories of Turkish minorities and endangered languages. The entrance is free of charge! Join us on 12 June between 3:45 PM and 5:45 PM. All short films are in the local language with English subtitles.

One of our featured films tells the tale of Sevim Yalıncakoğlu, a fearless 43-year-old accountant who leads a congregation of Alevi people in the heart of Istanbul. Against societal pressures and attempts to assimilate Alevi culture, Sevim stands strong, determined to restore Alevism to its authentic roots. Her unwavering activism brings about transformation as she fights for Alevi’s rights and emerges as a spiritual leader, spreading the message of equality.

In another short film, we travel back to the 1980s in Türkiye and witness the forbidden power of the Kurdish language and music. The movie shows the tension as soldiers attempt to silence the music at a wedding, only to be overcome by the echoes of Kurdish melodies from a neighbouring village across the Syrian border. This poignant film sheds light on the ongoing struggles faced by Kurdish communities and their steadfast resilience in preserving their cultural identity.

Explore the daily routine of an elderly Hemshin grandmother living in a remote village in Hopa, Türkiye, in another captivating short film. As urbanization and migration take their toll, she and her daughter enjoy some quiet moments of making yoghurt, collecting eggs, and conversing in the Hemshin language. Witness the profound impact of societal changes on culture and language through the eyes of Elmas, the film’s protagonist.

Karin, a young Armenian woman with a disability, navigates through the challenges of Istanbul. Losing her mother at a young age, Karin finds solace and passion in swimming. Through her unwavering determination, she overcomes societal barriers and has a profound impact as a minority woman.

‘Anybody Hear Me’ is a poignant exploration of the Kirmancki dialect of Kurdish, teetering on the edge of extinction. A heartbreaking story of a grandmother and her grandson, who struggle to communicate in their native language. Experience the profound consequences of losing a mother language and the vital importance of preserving cultural heritage.

At Bem Cinema, these powerful films illuminate the plight and resilience of minority communities in Türkiye, shedding light on their cultural struggles and the urgent need for change.

The programme is funded by the European Union, under the Minorities, Accountability, Rights and Cooperation (MARC) programme and organized by Minority Rights Group, an international organisation working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities around the world.

Image: Still from ‘Ana‘. Credit: Deniz Barış Narlı.

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