5 November 2008
"Istanbul - truth, fear and hope" Film screening at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin

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Approaching Istanbul. © 2008 pre tv. All rights reserved.

"Istanbul: Truth, fear and hope "
(52 minutes, in English)

Return to Europe Series
Winner of the 2008 Erasmus EuroMedia Award

on Wednesday, 5 November 2008, at 18.00

Istanbul, Europe's biggest city and the former capital of two South East European Empires (Byzantium and the Ottomans) is today once again the best place to grasp the contrasts, contradictions and promises of modern Turkey at the beginning of the 21st century.

This is a city with a rich and fascinating history, which nonetheless struggles to come to terms with its past.

Our film explores the tensions which lie just underneath the surface of this glittering town: how to deal with a complicated multiethnic past? How to overcome the bitter power struggle between new and old elites, in the city and across Turkey? What place for religion and Islam in a Turkey that seeks to join the European Union?

Strong women are at the centre of this Istanbul story: people such as Inci Bespinar, the first female deputy mayor in an Istanbul district; Yasemin Congar, a key player in the most courageous and effective daily paper Taraf; Perihan Magden, a best-selling writer and political columnist whose novel on a lesbian love affair between teenagers in Istanbul challenged conservative ideas just as effectively as her criticism of the lack of accountability of the military; and Fethiye Cetin, lawyer of the family of the murdered Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, confronting what appears increasingly to be a vast extreme-nationalist conspiracy called Ergenekon.

"Istanbul: Truth, fear and hope" is a part of the TV project "Return to Europe", a series of 10 one-hour TV documentaries featuring countries and cities in the Balkans. The aim of the series is to acquaint viewers with this fascinating region and its peoples, their recent past and their struggle for a better future in Europe. The series is supported by ERSTE Stiftung and has been jointly produced by the German-language satellite channel 3sat, Austria's public broadcaster ORF and the TV production company pre-TV, in cooperation with the European Stability Initiative (ESI), upon whose research and analysis these films are based.

Gerald Knaus, Chairman of ESI, will be available for discussion after the screening of the film.


Wednesday, 5 November 2008




Hertie School of Governance,
Quartier 110,
Friedrichstraße 180,
10117 Berlin

Please confirm your participation by e-mail to Besa Shahini no later than Tuesday, 4 November.

About us
Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com