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.