Turkish culture documentary
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Silvana Rachieru, the director of the Romanian Cultural Institute, became interested in Turkish culture during her university years. Over the last five years, she has witnessed the growing interest in Romanian culture in Turkey and vice versa, a phenomenon that has been aided by the popularity of Turkish soaps in Romania
Romania has retained strong commercial and diplomatic ties with Turkey since the Balkan gained independence in 1878, yet it comes as a surprise to learn of the increasing popularity of Turkish soap operas aired on Romanian TV. Providing a portal into the Turkish way of life and language, such soaps have led to a gradual increase in the number of tourists visiting the country.
“Turkish series are very popular in Romania. [Private channel] Kanal D has three or four Turkish series. It was interesting to see the Romanians’ reactions – they have started to learn a few words in Turkish and to learn about the customs, ” Silvana Rachieru, the director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Turkey, recently told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.
Noting that channels had previously been dominated by Latin American soaps, Rachieru said she had been pleasantly surprised to be met with cries of “merhaba” (hello) and “nasılsın” (how are you?) by mothers of friends when traveling back to visit her homeland.
Growing interest in Romania
The cultural exchange provided by the Turkish TV series, however, is a two-way street, as many of the 30, 000 Turks who have lived in Romania choose to keep up with cultural events related to Romania after they return to Turkey, according to Rachieru.
“The Romanian Cultural Institute has a structure similar to [Germany’s] Goethe Institute and [Spain’s] Cervantes [Institute] so we organize regular events promoting Romanian culture. For example, we bring Romanian artists to Turkish cities and towns. We try to cover every aspect of culture, from the visual arts to the music, ” she said.
Referring to a recent event, Rachieru painted a colorful picture of a visiting brass band from Romania who had performed in different clubs and participated in workshops with Roma children from a primary school in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul.
“The children started very recently but can already play different instruments; they are children from the Roma community so they also have a [natural] talent, ” Rachieru said.
With the participation of a Romanian theater company in the International Black Sea Theater Festival and the institute’s involvement with the Documentary Festival Documentarist, the institute’s schedule is a cultural hive.
“This year the Istanbul documentary festival will screen five Romanian documentaries and have two directors attending, one of whom will give a master class, ” the director said.
As well as becoming involved in the Istanbul cultural scene, Rachieru also spoke of how the institute encourages Turks to involve themselves directly with Romanian culture.