By Nilay Kar Onum


A Turkish documentary recounting the desperate journeys of migrants seeking refuge in Europe is expected to win two awards at the Amsterdam International Film Festival in August.

Produced by Turkish journalist Ayse Bohurler and directed by Enes Hakan Tokyay, Europe’s Trial With the Refugees was nominated for Best Director and Best Editing of a Short Documentary.

“Many documentaries on refugees are filmed around the world as well as in Europe. So it’s [a] proud [moment] for me and my country that a Turkish documentary team qualifies for the final in a [European] festival, ”Bohurler told Anadolu agency.

Bohurler, along with Tokyay, traveled to six countries to witness the plight of refugees and the challenges they faced on their journey to Europe.

Bohurler’s journey began from the southwest coast of Turkey to Bodrum in the province of Mugla and continued to the Greek island of Kos, then to the region of Thessaloniki and to Macedonia, Austria, Germany. , Denmark and the Netherlands.

The filming process for two parts of the documentary, which lasted around a year, came after footage of 3-year-old Syrian baby Aylan Kurdi, who lost his life while attempting to cross Greece with his family in September 2015, made the headlines. pages around the world.

Kurdi’s death – who washed up on a Turkish beach – sparked international outcry over the refugee crisis in Europe.

“At that time, stories of refugees were circulating every day in the European media. There were images of refugees in the mud waiting at the borders. […] Many European countries have actually just watched all of these [happenings] despite all its universal values ​​and refugee admission laws, ”said Bohurler.

She continued: “We observed that the universal values ​​of Europe started to change rapidly with [rising] influx of refugees and we actually tell all of those things in this documentary.

The European migrant crisis began in 2015 when an unprecedented influx of refugees and migrants arrived in the European Union.

“More than a million people have arrived in the states of the European Union, most of them fleeing war and terror in Syria and other countries,” according to figures from the European Commission.

Turkey is home to some 3.5 million Syrians, more than any other country in the world.

Ankara says it has spent around $ 25 billion to help and house refugees since the start of the Syrian civil war.


Bohurler also spoke of heartbreaking moments during the filming process.

“There are abandoned migrants, especially on the Greek islands. They – including Afghan, Pakistani and economic migrants – cannot return to their countries and cannot go to Europe due to European refugee laws. The world sees them as “garbage” made up of people. I was very affected by their situation.

“As a documentary filmmaker, I also cannot forget the moment of a 7 month [migrant] pregnant woman who passed out just after boarding a train after a tiring journey she made. “

Both parts of the documentary have already been shown on Turkish television. The filming of the third part is currently underway.

“When we started shooting the documentary, the refugees were on their way to Europe. Now in part three we are filming what changes have taken place in their life in Europe, ”she said.

The documentary, which will compete at the festival scheduled for August 11-18, is expected to win both awards.

Documentary producer Bohurler hopes to win an award.

“I am very happy to be nominated. I hope we get an award at this festival,” she said.

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