How is the Turkish culture

Diversity of Turkish culture

It was about theater, art, music, film and literature from the Bosporus. The program of the festival "Simdi now" (August 27 to September 5, 2004) ranged from classical concerts to modern club music, from Ottoman art to video installations. Numerous employees of various Berlin cultural institutions have discovered Turkey and especially its pulsating metropolis Istanbul for months and have almost succumbed to its vitality. The fact that the city on the Bosporus is home to such a young, lively and diverse cultural scene surprised everyone.

"Europe wasn't curious enough, didn't want to know what was really going on in Turkey," said Nilgün Mirze. She has been organizing international festivals on the Bosporus for the "Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Art" for years. Her foundation brings European cultures to Turkey, she says, but never one of the participating countries has been interested in her, Turkish culture. Until one day Mirze met Nikki Kawamura, a blond woman from Berlin with a Japanese name who lives in Kreuzberg - a district of Berlin whose streets have been shaped by tens of thousands of Turks, mostly from rural regions, for around 30 years. With traditional clothing, hierarchical family structures, with folk music and doner kebab.

It is important to discover "whole new colors"

Three independent partners, the "Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Art", "Harrison Parrot Artist and Project Management" from London and the Berlin "Werkstatt der Kulturen" presented the entire spectrum of the Turkish music and cultural scene in Berlin. Around 270 artists could be experienced at 20 renowned venues with concerts, exhibitions, dance and theater evenings, with films and readings.

Andreas Freudenberg, head of the "Workshop of Cultures", has discovered "completely new colors" and "young, new positions" in Turkey that could also interest Germans. For him, this raises the question: "How does Europe identify with this country? How does Turkey identify with Europe?" A question that, according to Freudenberg, most Turkish artists would have long since answered unequivocally. Because they see themselves as Europeans and feel connected to Europe.

Contribution to the dialogue between cultures

Ferhan and Ferzan Önder

"Simdi now" - "Now, straight now" - was the title of the Berlin festival of contemporary Turkish culture, at which not only the pop diva Sezen Aksu and last year's Grand Prix winner Sertab Erener performed, but also outstanding musicians like the Önder - and the Pekinel sisters. Their instrument, the piano, combines classical Turkish music with Western European classical music, which the Ottoman sultans once brought to Turkey. Other artists interpreted Goethe's poems, which were influenced by oriental poetry, accompanied by traditional Ottoman instruments. Or they mixed spiritual Sufi sounds with elements of contemporary electronic music.

With the "Simdi now" festival, the organizers made an important contribution to the dialogue between cultures. In Berlin, the city with the largest Turkish population outside of Turkey. And ideally, according to Kawamura, this festival also contributes to an intra-cultural dialogue and encourages Turks living in Berlin to examine developments in their home country.