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Nearby Yet Far Away - The Isle of Burgaz

Having won a scholarship, a young Turkish student called Cüneyt Türel, goes to London in 1974 and settles down in a cheap hotel run by Greek Cypriots. The locals ask him if he really wants to stay there, since Turkish - Greek relations are not at their best at that time. At the hotel he encounters Emilios Yorgos Eden, a Greek from the Isle of Burgaz, in the Marmara Sea not far away from Istanbul. It turns out that before having had to migrate from Istanbul to Athens, Emilios’s father was the doctor of the island, also caring for another islander Sait Faik Abasıyanık, one of the best Turkish writers of the 20th century. A friendship begins.

Later Emilios returns to Athens and Cüneyt to Istanbul. Correspondence becomes seldom and at some stage, they loose track of each other until a few years ago where they accidentally meet each other again. Türel has now become one of the most renowned contemporary actors in Turkey, Emilios an optometrist, painter and poet. And furthermore Cüneyt has moved to the island of Burgaz…

This film is about a friendship beyond boundaries and enmity and about the 20 odd different ethnical and religious communities living together in peace on a 1.5 square kilometre island an hour away by ferry from Istanbul. It is true that most of the island Greeks had to leave during the various Cyprus crises between Turkey and Greece over the 60’s and 70’s. Nevertheless, the island boasts a Greek Orthodox church, numerous chapels including a Catholic one, a synagogue, an Alevi temple and naturally a mosque for the Turks, who are more or less a minority in this multicultural haven in which Armenians encounter Laz people from the Black Sea, the Istanbul Jewish community rest in their summer flats etc. 

The documentary is an ode of love to the Princess Islands, a haven on earth without motorised cars.


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Gnll Caddesi 27/5
Burgazada - Adalar
34975 İstanbul

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86899 Landsberg am Lech

+49 (0) 8191 - 5549

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