Turkish news leaving me flabbergasted and exhausted…

  Turkish news

In my enthusiasm to renew my competences in Turkish, I have started to follow Turkish news at TRT news (see www.trthaber.com). I remember from my studies in French that understanding a language at the level of daily news in the tempo it is usually given to the public, is a real sign of mastering a language. So I thought, that could be fun.

Fun! Turkish news is not exactly fun. The first three times I was watching, it started with at least 15 minutes of news about the war against terrorists in the east of Turkey (this is an internal conflict in Turkey with Kurdish fighters, mostly organised in the forbidden organisation PKK, but in the Turkish news the words Kurdish or PKK are never mentioned). You see F16s throwing bombs in the mountains, buses blown up and burials of young soldiers, killed in the blossom of their life and buried by serious colleague-soldiers, fathers with deep grief on their face and mothers crying.
Before you can realize what this means to people, the news switches to the next subject: the corpse of the former president Turgut Özal will be excavated because they want to investigate whether he really died for normal reasons or he was poisoned. Poisoned – the president!

You don’t get time to think that over because after that the court case (Balyoz davasi) against a group of army top guys is presented. Suspicion is they prepared a coup like the army did in the ’60’s, ’70’s and ’80’s in Turkey, but these guys in the 21st century were caught before they could act. Some say this is a real process, others say this is a political process part of the power battle between the secular army and the religious government. Anyway the first generals got 20 years of imprisonment, the same punishment as terrorists would have got, people noticed.

Just half an hour of Turkish news leaves me flabbergasted and exhausted… I am used to Dutch news, where the biggest highlights nowadays are the compromise our liberal-conservative party has to make with the socialist party after our September 12 elections, in order to form a government – and we worry about the banks of course and the crisis and the Greeks and so on. All of that is peanuts compared to war, treason and real state conspiracies….

At the Turkish film festival last weekend, I complained to my Turkish friends: there is no news about the Turkish economy, just war and court cases and the like. They laughed loudly at my complaints, hahaha, the economy is booming, no problem at all so there is no economy in the news! No sympathy from their side…

OK I got their point. Today I pulled myself together and watched more war, courtcase and some news about Syria and the leadership of Hamas. Even the economy was in the news for a minute today: ‘we will be the best performing European economy in 2012 and 2013’, I missed the percentage or maybe the guy didn’t mention it. Fortunately I do not understand everything yet so I can get used to the Turkish news step by step and thus survive….

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Kurtulus son durak – Turkish film festival

Kurtulus Son Durak Poster  What a nice movie is Kurtulus son durak! Women living in neighbouring apartments in Kurtulus – Istanbul start to talk about their lives and many unexpected scenes are the result of it. Is this a feminist movie? Turkish newspapers describe it as a commercial movie about empowerment of women. But the movie was made by two men, not by women. Baris Pirhasan wrote it and his son Yusuf directed it. Baris is present at the Turkish film festival in Amsterdam and explains how the movie was created. He is a very interesting man and it is worth to ask him questions.
The movie is very funny but not without a serious tune. Also it has layers and quite some depth; what I liked a lot is the alcoholic guy who is living his own life amidst all the troubles and the adventures of the women. He even helps them at some point, but when the situation becomes very difficult with the police surrounding the appartments and all, he is watching the events happening in the apartments below him at his television. He only comes down to his neighbours in trouble when the police cuts off the electricity as a first step to enter the apartments with force. ‘The television stopped’, he explains while all the women watch his arrival in surprise, and that is just one out of many funny moments.
Baris Pirhasan explained he is using cynicism or black humour as a way to make people laugh and we did; it was a great night with a great movie that is unusual enough not to be just forgotten after the laughter. To be seen in Tuschinsky Amsterdam on Saturday 22-9, 13h and Sunday 23-9, 20.45h. Enjoy!

Other documentaries you might like to read about:
Kedi: movie about cats or humans?
Naziha’s spring (by Gülsah Dogan)
The hunt for my father (also Gülsah Dogan)
Taxi Teheran