sinecine ISSN: 1309-5838

Films on the Turkish War of Independence and National Heroism

Abstract

This article analyzes the approach to the “nation-state” that developed after the establishment of the Turkish Republic and how the factors based on this approach that brought into being the Turkish national identity are represented in Independence War films. Taner Akçam (2009) argues that these factors cause psychological reactions like fear, suspicion, vengeance, or direct actions like pogroms. Independence War films reflect these factors abundantly, thus promoting elements of cultural and ethnical homogeneity which were necessary for reconstructing a national identity. Homogeneity, which is a product of “deep nation” formation, is expressed as a part of canonic narration with specific symbolic codes and heroic discourse in the movies. Thus, the regeneration of collective memory is provided, being Turkish is lauded, minorities are considered as enemies, and new elements are brought into scene as the political structures change. Analyzing the factors in these movies that contribute to Turkish identity will demonstrate that these movies have served and continue to serve the purpose of reconstructing national identity. Therefore, the movies from different periods of the Republic, viz., A Nation is Awakening (1932), Strike the Whore (1949), Goodbye (1951), The Independence War (1954), The Unknown Heroes (1958), Dusman Yollari Kesti (1959), The Lions of Gallipoli (1964), The Last Ottoman: Yandim Ali (2007), all of which are about the Independence War and are examples of national heroism, are analyzed.

Key Words: Independence war films, deep nation, formation of Turkish national identity, cultural homogeneity, ethnical homogeneity, national identity and cinema of Turkey.

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