The Emblem of Turkey: "The Kurdish Problem"

The Emblem of Turkey: The Kurdish Problem

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58 minutes


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English, Turkish and Kurdish w/ English subtitles

When the European Union opened membership negotiations with Turkey in October 2005, more attention than ever was thrown on the struggle between Turkey and its Kurdish population, one of the country's biggest stumbling blocks on the road to EU accession. For 80 years, the Turkish government has refused to fully recognize its 15-million strong Kurdish minority. In the 1980s and 90s, Turkey's scorched-earth policy saw 3,500 Kurdish villages destroyed and forced two million Kurds into internal exile.

Kurdish-Canadian filmmaker Jiyar Gol examines this volatile situation from all sides, beginning with the carving up of Kurdistan in 1923 when the Ottoman Empire collapsed, to the present-day battle between Turkey's security forces and Kurdish guerillas. As he crisscrosses the country, he interviews Kurdish and Turkish mothers who have both lost sons to the conflict, visits Turkish authorities who balk at the EU's interference in domestic affairs, discusses continuing human rights violations with Kurdish lawyers, and attends the much-criticized re-trial of Leyla Zana, a Kurdish MP, activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee convicted of treason. Zana sparked controversy when she addressed Turkish parliament in Kurdish-a restricted language that was outright illegal until 1991.

In a timely and personal way, The Emblem of Turkey delves into the unofficial stories behind the pressing humanitarian situation for Kurds in Turkey.

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