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  7. Die Kümmeltürkin geht

Die Kümmeltürkin geht

Chosen by Cem Kaya
Jeanine Meerapfel, FRG 1985, 88 Min., OV with English subs, digital

Followed by a talk with Cem Kaya

Melek Tez has worked for Siemens in West Berlin for 14 years, but no longer wants to live in Germany and is preparing to return to Turkey. The filmmaker Jeanine Meerapfel accompanies Melek as she goes through the authorities in preparation for her departure, tracing the experiences of a strong woman who, as a migrant worker, had to fight hard for her livelihood and deal with racist hostility in the process. Die Kümmeltürkin geht reveals the trusting collaboration between the two women both in front of and behind the camera tangible, drawing on both documentary and fictional elements.
The racist insult “Kümmeltürke” was widespread in German mainstream society in the 1980s and prepared the climate for the Kohl government's plans to send back migrant workers from Turkey. At the same time, another expression appeared in Turkish in migrant circles: killing the passport. The term refers to the so-called Rückkehrhilfegesetz (Return Assistance Act) from 1983, which stipulated that migrant workers from Turkey should permanently leave the Federal Republic of Germany and return to their country of origin. A farewell payment of 10,500 DM was paid for this. By September 1984, around 100,000 people had returned to Turkey, thus surrendering their passports. (CS)

DIE KüMMELTüRKIN GEHT, Jeanine Meerapfel