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London Turks exhibited at City Hall

Source: Londra Toplum Postasi  
07 November 2006

The result of years of painstaking research by anthropologist Semra Eren-Nijhar, “London Turks-in their own words” serves as a resplendent example of the challenging task of documenting the arrival of Turks to the UK. Defining Turks alone is another task, which, Eren-Nijhar has steered away from. Her exhibition, and documentary include what she describes as “Turks from Turkey, and elsewhere”. The participants of the project, which put together people from all walks of life, included some prominent members of the Turkish Cypriot community Labour councillor for Enfield Ahmet Karahasan, and Educationalist Ertanç Hidayettin.

Eren-Nijhar who is from Istanbul but was raised in Germany and the UK, where she now lives, said it was “heart warming” to see people at her exhibition. She thanked the London mayor and council for their interest and support, but stated that: “it has been too long that the Turkish-speaking communities have remained invisible.” Describing the exhibition as “a tool against racism,” Newham Councillor Umesh Desai said the exhibition is a great way to educate Londoners about Turkey and the Turkish-speaking communities in the UK, to “get rid of racist stereotypes” in the UK at present.

GLA member Joanne McCartne, who attended the screening of the documentary, said: “We can learn from the exhibition and encourage others to learn as well. “We (the GLA) are proud of the Turkish-speaking community and their contribution to the city. “Diversity is our strength,” she said.

To extend their support to the project, the Minister Counsel of the Turkish Embassy Atılay Ersan, London Assembly Member Joanne McCartney, Councillor Umesh Desai from the London borough of Newham, GLA member John Biggs and prominent members of London’s Turkish-speaking community. Participants in the project also attended with their family and friends. The exhibition will be held at City Hall from November 8-24, after which it is due to be exhibited in various local councils in the UK, Brussels, Berlin and Turkey.

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