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Author discusses international relations

| Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Emine Segvi Özdamar, Turkish-German author, actress and director, presented a reading of her novel “The Bridge of the Golden Horn” in a lecture titled “Turkey to Germany, A Passport for the World: Emine Sevgi Özdamar’s Literary Journey” on Monday in McKenna Hall.

The Department of German and Russian Languages organized the event, which included a reading of Özdamar’s novel and a question-and-answer portion about her presentation of Turkish and German relations.

Özdamar said the novel focuses on the journey of a young Turkish woman in 1960s Germany.

“It’s a developmental novel about this young Turkish woman who comes to Germany and how she becomes an adult.” Özdamar said. “It is intertwined with her love for the theatre and the role that her love for the theatre plays in her development.”

Although Özdamar said her own migration to East Berlin differed from her main character’s, she could still easily relate to the character’s journey.

“The late 1960s and 1970s were characterized by the influx of Turkish migrant workers in Germany, who later formed a permanent minority group,” Özdamar said. “Frequent clashes between Turks and Germans existed mainly due to the guest worker status of Turks in the country.”

“The general cultural exchange between Germany and Turkey was hindered by the fact that the migrant workers who went from Turkey to Germany were proletarians. The migrant workers were seen by the intellectuals in Germany as a population who gave the wrong impression of what Turkish culture was like in Germany.”

Osamar said Turkish elite had difficulties with accepting the impact of Turkish proletariats.

“It took a long time for the elite in Turkey to accept the products of Turkish migrant literature as something that enriched Turkish culture,” Özdamar said.

Özdamar also said the Social Democratic movement within Turkey was key to the growth and influence of Turkish language and culture.

“The left wing political movement in Turkey was a very necessary movement for unification and rights of women,” Özdamar said. “It was also a movement that did a lot for the development of the Turkish language.”

Özdamar said the conflicts between German and Turkish language during the 1960s still influence German and Turkish culture today

“We always say we lose our mother tongue when we go abroad,” Özdamar said. “It is possible to lose our mother tongue at home as well.”

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