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Ottoman Empire aid to the Irish to hit the big screen [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-6-16 21:57:08 |Display all floors
A scenic port town on the east coast of Ireland, Drogheda is the last place you would expect to find a vestige of the Ottoman Empire. Yet an understated plaque hanging on the frontage of the town’s bustling Westcourt Hotel tells a very different story.
                                                                                                                        Unveiled in 1995 by Drogheda Mayor Alderman Godfrey and the then Turkish Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, Taner Baytok, the plaque, which reads simply “The Great Irish Famine of 1847 -- In remembrance and recognition of the generosity of the People of Turkey towards the People of Ireland,” commemorates a surprising act of generosity on behalf of an Ottoman sultan at a period in time when it is likely that the only turkey on the Irish agenda was that of the edible variety. Or indeed perhaps not even that, considering there was a famine going on at the time.

A devastating wave of hunger, which saw approximately 1 million people starve to death and 1 million more flee in search of a better life elsewhere, the great Irish Famine resulted in the island’s population dropping by what is estimated to be as much as 25 percent between 1845 and 1852.

Yet in 1847, at a time when the Irish found themselves largely forsaken by the rest of the world, not least their rich neighbors across the water, the Ottoman ruler of the time, Sultan Abdülmecid, who caught wind of the disaster from his Irish doctor, decided to send not only monetary aid to the far off island but also three ships carrying provisions and food supplies.
Legend has it that the sultan had pledged the considerable sum of 10,000 pounds to the cause, but the ruling monarch of the time, Queen Victoria, laid down the law, requesting that he send only a 10th of this because she herself had only donated 2,000 pounds. Abdullah Aymaz noted in an article in The Fountain magazine in 2007 that despite the fact that the British administration did not give permission for the three ships to enter the ports of Belfast or Dublin, the vessels managed to secretly discharge their load in the tranquil town of Drogheda, approximately 70 miles north of Dublin.

An act of kindness which remained largely unknown for many years, the episode entered the wider public consciousness when Irish President Mary McAleese sang the praises of Sultan Abdülmecid on a state visit to Turkey in March 2010, relating how, “at the insistence of the people, the star and crescent of Turkey forms part of the town’s coat of arms.”

Indeed, to this day a silver star and crescent maintain their place at the top of the Drogheda coat of arms and the official badge of Drogheda United Football Club is simply a red crescent and a star -- the lasting legacy of a historic act of kindness. A letter signed by the Anglo-Irish gentry of the time, now on display at the European Commission office on Dawson Street in Dublin, expresses gratitude to the sultan of the Ottoman Empire for the donation. Sunday’s Zaman reported in 2010 that the then Turkish foreign minister, Abdullah Gül, stated in 2004 that copies of documents confirming the donation had been sent to the National Library of Ireland and the Drogheda Municipality.

Amongst those intrigued by the story of 19th-century international comradeship following McAleese’s comments in 2010 was Turkish filmmaker Ömer Sarıkaya, who this week announced plans to make a movie, titled “Famine,” based on the tale.
“It’s a little-known but inspiring story,” Sarıkaya told Sunday’s Zaman this week. “I would say 99 percent of the people in Ireland and Turkey know nothing about this episode, which is something we hope to change,” he said, adding that since he has expressed his plans to make the movie he has received numerous emails and letters from people in Ireland expressing shame that they did not know of the episode before.

Sarıkaya, who is traveling to Ireland in three weeks time to audition Irish actors for the project, said that 60 percent of the film will be shot in Ireland, while the remainder will be filmed in İstanbul. With filming expected to begin in July, Sarıkaya has his eye on Irish director Neil Jordan to steer the story to the big screen, although this appointment has yet, he says, to be confirmed.
A story of love, jealousy, betrayal, hope and honor, “Famine” will tell the story of an Irish girl, Mary, whose life changes when she meets Fatih, a young Turkish man sent over by the sultan with the aid relief for sufferers of the famine. The two decide to marry and Mary plans to return with Fatih to Turkey. The only problem is that Mary is trapped in an unhappy engagement to James, a fiery Brit who is prepared to do anything to stand in the way of her plans to escape.

“The film will represent the good, the bad and the ugly,” Sarıkaya told Sunday’s Zaman, adding, “The good are the Irish, the bad are the English and the ugly is the famine.”
Yet the Turkish filmmaker is keen to attest that the focus of the film is not on the Irish-English divide but on the unlikely union between Turkey and Ireland, two countries separated by 4,000 miles. “The characters may be fictional but the film is based on the true story of Turkey lending a charitable hand to Ireland during their hour of need,” he said.
Ireland and Turkey are certainly not the most potent of international allies. However, despite the fact that Sultan Abdülmecid’s random act of kindness was little spoken of for many years, it forged a small bond between the two nations which lives on to this day.

In 2007 Turkish journalist Aymaz delivered an account of an interesting memory of Yahya Kemal Beyatlı, a former Turkish ambassador who participated in the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. According to Beyatlı, whilst each of the representatives from the Allied powers voted in unison against Turkey, the delegate from Ireland was an exception, raising his hand in favor of Turkey for each vote. When questioned why he had acted so, the representative said: “When we suffered from famine and disease, your Ottoman ancestors shipped loads of food and monetary donations. We have never forgotten the friendly hand extended to us in our difficult times. Your nation deserves to be supported on every occasion.”

In an age where humanitarian aid has become an ordinary phenomenon, it may be easy to understate the goodwill of such an action. But for those starving citizens who greeted the Ottoman ships in Drogheda in 1847, Sultan Abdülmecid’s gesture would have been seen for what it truly was: an unprecedented and progressive act of humanity.
                                                       

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Post time 2012-6-16 22:00:48 |Display all floors
How Turks eased hunger of our Famine
A TURKISH film that tells of how the Ottoman Empire sent food aid to Ireland at the height of the Famine will begin shooting here this July.
'Hunger' is based on events during 1847, when -- moved by stories of the humanitarian disaster in Ireland -- the Sultan of the Ottoman empire, Abdul Majid, sent £1,000 and three ships laden with food to Drogheda, Co Louth.
"It's a little-known but inspiring story," writer and director Omer Sarikaya told the Irish Independent.
The filmmaker will travel to Ireland in three weeks time to audition Irish actors for the project, which will be filmed in both Turkey and Ireland.

"Our film tells an incredible story, but also the meeting of a Turkish sailor called Fatih, and an Irish woman called Mary.
"This is a story of two countries coming together during sadness and a love affair between two  people from different countries,"  Mr Sarikaya said.

Legend has it that the Sultan Abdul Majid had intended to pledge £10,000 to Irish farmers but that Queen Victoria requested that he send only £1,000, because she herself had only donated £2,000.
But apparently the sultan, after agreeing to the change, secretly sent three ships to Ireland laden with food.
The Turkish generosity is remembered by a plaque which was unveiled at the West Court Hotel in West Street, Drogheda, in 1995.
Former president Mary McAleese referred to the episode when she addressed guests at a state dinner in Ankara in 2010.

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Post time 2012-6-16 22:02:02 |Display all floors
MUSLIM REALLY GENEROUS, NOBLE HEART...

{:soso_e179:}

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Post time 2012-6-16 22:02:46 |Display all floors

Legend has it that the Sultan Abdul Majid had intended to pledge £10,000 to Irish farmers but that Queen Victoria requested that he send only £1,000, because she herself had only donated £2,000.

But apparently the sultan, after agreeing to the change, secretly sent three ships to Ireland laden with food.

The Turkish generosity is remembered by a plaque which was unveiled at the West Court Hotel in West Street, Drogheda, in 1995.


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Post time 2012-6-16 22:10:29 |Display all floors
As an Irishman living in Turkey, I know this story well and in fact learned about it as a child at school. We Irish have an affinity with Turks for a lot of reasons including the similar friendly but passionate and independent character. It was a fantastic gesture at the time. Later, both Ireland and Turkey were battling for independence from England,(of course Turkey had many more occupiers)and gained independence around the same time.  By the way...the football club, Droghedu United even has the Trabzon team colours...but I think that is just a coincidence! :-)
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Post time 2012-6-16 22:36:10 |Display all floors
It's a terrible thing to deliberately inflict suffering on starving people.  It's indefensible; there's no way to justify a refusal to intervene on behalf of those unfortunates.  The Irish have responded with characteristic grace and courage to bring supplies and indeed, hope to the people of Palestine.  The memory of our own suffering remains with us.
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Post time 2012-6-17 07:35:37 |Display all floors
Historians and Intellectuals stand in awe how the Turks managed their empire where other people such as in Europe turned to facism in WW2 the Turks didn't turn to Facism. Even in the face of facism Turks acted neutraland always accordingly to international treaties. In the intellectual realm Turk-hater loose the battle time after time. That is why they turn to politics(where they also fail). France for example should acknowledge their participation of nazi-agenda that sent Jews to death-camps; Algerian holocaust, etc. The list go's on and on.
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