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In Turkey

Documentary series by VPRO (The Netherlands):
Doke Romeijn (director), Stefanie de Brouwer (director), Bran Vermeulen (presenter)

awarded with the Erasmus EuroMedia Special Award for Discourse & Politics

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Laudatio by Joan Hemels, University of Amsterdam

In Turkey is a documentary series produced by non commercial dutch TV station VPRO in cooperation with the daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad. Presenter Bram Vermeulen takes viewers on an outright expedition from Istanbul to Van, from the Golden Horn to Iran and alongside the turkish border. On various encouters he talks to Turkish cititzens, from the hairdresser to the shepard, from students to farmers who became fishermen, from directors to construction experts in war-torn Iraq. He asks questions about the transformations Turkey witnesses, investigates contradictions and discrepancies without judging them.

The journey takes viewers to the closed border with Armenia, and to the open borders to the arabic neighbouring countries in the South – where Turkey restablishes ties lost long time ago. The viewers start to realize: Turkey regained self confidence and is redefining its self-conception. It is no longer just begging for Europe.

In Turkey reflects on the shift of mental borders, it shows how islamists take a critical look at the new rich, how both, mini scirts and burka shape the style of the street. The impressions Bram Vermeulen collects help overcoming stereotyped images of Turkey’s people and goals.

Turkey opens up to neighbouring countries in the middle east – and could turn its back on Europe, dissapointed. This is a warning for all who don’t want to see Europe ending at the Bosporus. The most interesting point in that documentary is the estimation of neighbouring countries Syria and Irak that Turkey for them represents what Europe represents for Turkey.

An editorial team and a TV-Team accompanied Vermeulen on his journey. I specially want to mention directors Stefanie de Brouwer and Doke Romeijn, both comissioning editors. The production and additional, commenting publications turn In Turkey into a multimedia package ideal for usage in an educational context. The cooperation between broadcaster and newspaper was worth the effort.


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