A German film sheds light on the place of Turkish migrants in today’s Germany

BERLIN, Feb 13 (Reuters) – A film about a German-Turkish mother’s quest to free her son from Guantanamo prison raises questions about Germany’s attitude towards the millions of Turkish migrants who have taken up residence in the country, although many are not citizens.

German director Andreas Dresen’s film, “Rabiye Kurnaz versus George W. Bush,” which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday, explores the place and identity of Turkish migrants in today’s Germany.

“I think we have to ask ourselves: how do we treat our children, children who were born here, regardless of their nationality?” Dresen told Reuters in an interview on Sunday.

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Tens of thousands of Turks migrated to Germany in the 1960s and 1970s in response to invitations from West Germany which needed labor to fuel its post-war industrial boom.

There is now a Turkish community of over three million people in the country, but more than half still do not have German citizenship.

Based on true events, Dresen’s film tells the story of “Rabiye”, the mother of Murat Kurnaz, a Turk born and raised in Germany, who was detained at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2002 for almost five years without positions.

With patience, determination and a committed German lawyer, Rabiye campaigned for her son’s freedom. Between trips to Ankara and Washington and appeals to German, American and Turkish authorities, and a lawsuit against then US President George W. Bush, the mother of three wins her battle and gets her boy back.

Rabiye is portrayed as an ordinary woman, whose sentences mix German and Turkish words, but whose belief in her son’s innocence proved stronger than German bureaucracy and American politics.

“We came up with the idea to tell his story because we thought it was good to know that the so-called ‘ordinary people’ could defend themselves against the great powers of the world,” Dresen told a conference. press Saturday.

German-Turkish actor Meltem Kaptan, who plays Rabiye, had long conversations with Murat Kurnaz’s mother.

“It was important for me to play both sides; that sadness and that vulnerability that she feels,” Kaptan said. “But on the other hand, this bright, big personality that can make anyone laugh.”

The film also sheds light on the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison which was created to house foreign terrorism suspects following the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. Read more

The film is among those competing for the Berlin International Film Festival’s Golden Bear, which will be awarded next Wednesday.

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Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Swantje Stein Editing by Jane Merriman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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