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Love Zeki Müren! Queer culture in Turkey

Do you know that there has been a continuing queer culture in Turkey since the Ottoman Empire? This project will show the past of this culture, which could be called queer culture today, and how it continues in the Turkish Republic, until today.

Project curator: Ece Özdemir

The past and present of queer culture in Turkey

12th. October, 7:30 pm, Academy of Fine Arts, Atelierhaus Lehargasse 8, 1060 Vienna, 2 OG, Mehrzwecksaal

In this event, Zülfukar Çetin will talk about queer culture in Turkey and the struggle that accompanies it. He will address questions of how queer culture emerged in Turkey, continuing from the Ottoman Empire until now, and what changes it has undergone since then and what characteristics it possesses today?

Dr. Zülfukar Çetin, teaches at the Alice-Salomon-Hochschulein Berlin in the field of social work and works at the University of Basel in a research project on HIV/AIDS activism and politics in Turkey. Perspectives and Resistances and in 2016 co-authored with Heinz-Jürgen Voß the book Gay Visibility, Gay Identity. Critical Perspectives. His work focuses on intersectionality, migration research and politics, anti-discrimination politics and work, racism and anti-Muslim racism, (post-) colonialism, queer theory and politics, heteronormativity, homonationalism, among others.

The event will be bilingual, German and Turkish. For simultaneous translation into German, reserve headphones at: neuerwienerdiwan@gmx.at.

Getting to know queer literature of Turkey

23rd October, 7:30 pm, Academy of Fine Arts, Atelierhaus Lehargasse 8, 1060 Vienna, 2 OG, Mehrzwecksaal

This panel discussion will focus on examples of queer literature in the Ottoman Empire period, in the early republic, and in contemporary Turkey. Can we talk about a queer literature of the Ottoman Empire, where in the 19th century sexual norms were not yet determined with heterosexist paradigm? Did the existence of a not yet suppressed queer language persist in the early republic, even though there were attempts to form the novel of that period according to the strictly heterosexist norms? What then are the effective examples of queer literature in contemporary Turkish literature?

Ezgi Sarıtaş studied political science and public administration at the Middle East Technical University. She obtained her Master’s degree from this university and in Vrije University Brussel. In 2018, she dissertated at Ankara University, where she currently works as a research assistant in Gender Studies. Her book Education of Sexual Normality was published in 2020.

Sevcan Tiftik, received her master’s degree from the Bilkent University, Department of Turkish Literature with the thesis “Comparative Queer Readings: Queer Potentials in Kulin, Mungan and Toptaş Texts.” She is pursuing a PhD in General Sociology and Methodology at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. Tiftik’s academic interests are body, queer, disability, and modern Turkish literature.

The event will be bilingual, German and Turkish. For simultaneous translation into German, reserve headphones at: neuerwienerdiwan@gmx.at.

Love, Spells and all That: Queer-cinema in Turkey
Director: Ümit Ünal, Turkey 2019, 94 min., Turkish with english subtitles

29th October, 7:30 pm Brunnenpassage, Brunnengasse 71, Yppenplatz, 1160 Vienna

Did you know that queer cinema has existed in Turkey since the 1980s and has been producing queer films as an independent cinema ever since? Film scholar Ece Özdemir will give a lecture on selected films of queer cinema in Turkey this evening, followed by a screening of the international award-winning feature film “Love, Spells and All That”, one of the best queer cinema examples of recent years.

Movie Synopsis: As teenagers, Eren and Reyhan, a politician’s daughter and a working class girl, were lovers. But when their love came to light, they were separated. Eren meets Reyhan again twenty years later and tries to turn back time, but for Reyhan the wounds of the past have not yet healed.

Ece Özdemir, Ankara University – Master’s degree at the Faculty of Communication Sciences and Media (Radio, TV, Cinema), PhD candidate at the University of Applied Arts. Formerly program director of the Ankara International Film Festival, editorial coordinator and most recently editor-in-chief of the journal “Sekan’s Cinema Culture”. Özdemir’s focus is on comparative film studies between Turkish and European cinema.

The event will be bilingual, German and Turkish. For simultaneous translation into German, reserve headphones at: neuerwienerdiwan@gmx.at.

Performance: Love Zeki Müren!

Queer figures in popular culture in Turkey.

31th October, 7:30 pm Brunnenpassage, Brunnengasse 71, Yppenplatz, 1160 Vienna

Zeki Müren, one of the most important names in Turkish classical music, was also one of the first artists in Turkey to give a queer performance. The first trans woman, soloist Bülent Ersoy, also enjoyed great interest and respect among the population. Seyfi Dursunoğlu, Turkey’s first drag queen on stage, was allowed to perform on Turkey’s state TV channels: did shows on Turkey’s most famous clubs and stayed on stages for almost 40 years. How does queer culture find a place in the popular cultural products of contemporary Turkey? How was it yesterday, how is it today? Queer videographer and performer Ekim Acun will answer these questions with a performance accompanying queer video clips, songs and dances.

Ekim Acun,Videographer and performer. He studied Sinema TV at İstanbul Bilgi University. After that he went to New York to work as a film editor for a while. Later, he worked in Istanbul in the TV sector as a film producer. His documentaries and YouTube videos enjoyed great attention because of his immense interest and knowledge about popular culture. He formed Sokopop YouTube channel and continues to produce content there.


This event series is a collaboration between Queer Museum Vienna and Neuer Wiener Diwan:

This event series is supported by:

WASt – Wiener Antidiskriminierungsstelle. und Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur (BMKOES)

Cooperation partner: Brunnenpassage Wien, Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien, Koordinationsstelle Frauenförderung | Geschlechterforschung | Diversität

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