Turkish delights fill the screens at Jeonju
But it would be wrong to say that the Turkish film industry has always been healthy. The 1980s, for example, represent a “missing decade” Yucel thinks this is connected to the military coup in 1980.
Another important key to Turkish cinema, Yucel explained, is the country’s multicultural history. Turkey has tried to integrate minorities, including the Kurds, who have been seeking independence. “It’s still taboo to challenge the idea of integration,” Yucel said. “A phrase such as a ‘war between the Turks and Kurds’ is a taboo expression, because, to the government, the Kurds should be a part of Turkey.” Still, Turkish directors have produced films about the Kurds, including “Journey to the Sun” (1999) by Yesim Ustaoglu, which was presented in Jeonju this year.
“Turkey was established by the integration of Asians and Arabians,” Yucel said. “So the government tried to find one single national identity by seeking westernization.” For example, women were not required to follow the Islamic tradition of covering their head with a scarf. “They think that, by removing the Islamic tradition, they democratized and unified the country,” Yucel said, “But it’s still controversial, because it’s more democratic to give a woman a choice whether or not to wear a scarf.”
Regarding the surge of home-made films both in Turkey and Korea, Yucel said, “I guess people now want to see their own culture, their own jokes and their own selves on screen,” he said.
By Chun Su jin [email@example.com]