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  • Feyzullah Ünnü

CONDITION FOR TOLERANCE: IMMIGRANTS' DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES FROM TURKEY



Condition for Tolerance is the first documentary of Hasan Özdağ, who is a young and promising filmmaker from İstanbul, Turkey. The documentary focuses on one of the biggest issues in Turkey and the World: immigration. This phenomenon, which raised in the last years in the World, is a crucial one for Turkey due to its geopolitical position. As a consequence of the wars that has been happening in the Middle East, like the ones in Syria and Afghanistan, millions of people have immigrated and still thousands of people have been immigrating to Turkey to save their lives and make a life for themselves and their families. Also, Turkey hosts a great number of people from different countries such as the USA, Japan, China and Kazakhstan for business, education or cultural reasons. The documentary questions the conditions for tolerance for tolerance in Turkey and illustrates the differences in the experiences of immigrants from various countries.


Condition for Tolerance demonstrates the experiences of 11 people from different countries presenting a very rich and complete perspective. Immigrants explain their motivations to come to Turkey. There are various reasons that made them decide to come to turkey; for instance, in addition to Syrian and Afghans who came to Turkey because of the wars in the Middle East, there are American lecturers or Japanese and Palestinian students who came for education. How the cultural, linguistic and religious similarities and differences affect their orientation period in turkey is presented clearly in the documentary. While some of them feel very welcomed and pleased, a lot of them struggle to adapt and go through hard times of adaptation. This distinction in immigrant experience causes different integration processes and relations with Turkey. Condition for Tolerance exposes this contrast with parallel interviews with the same questions with people from different backgrounds.


In the second half, the documentary touches upon the change in the perception of immigrants over the years. Besides the Turkish government's politics which cannot control immigration, the media’s and some politicians’ aggressive and hostile discourses against immigrants have an impact on people's ideas about immigrants and creates intolerable judgments towards them. Also, immigrants talk about the unfortunate events that affect them very deeply. These events mostly happen because of being illegal immigrants and the inaccessibility of hospitals or police stations in any situation. While watching the genuine experiences of immigrants, original classical music compositions, composed by pianist Aksu Nartur, become a friendly and restful companion to the audience on this journey. The music reflects Hasan Özdağ's deliberate approach to immigrants and their experiences.



Condition for Tolerance demonstrates the different experiences of immigrants who came from various countries and the conditions acceptance in Turkey. Long-hour interviews and the capability to steep into the issue make the documentary inspirational and effective for audiences who are interested in immigration. The documentary exposes how Turkey handles the problem as the country that hosts the greatest number of immigrants in the world and also highlights what the rest of the world can learn from Turkey about the global immigration problem.


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