Entry updated 18 September 2023. Tagged: International.
A full entry for sf in Turkey must await a contributor fluent in its language and able to report from the inside on the development of the genre there, and on untranslated works. The best known Proto SF author from this region is Lucian of Samosata in what is now modern Turkey. Little Turkish sf has been translated; relevant authors given full entries in this encyclopedia are the Turkish-Armenia-born US Gregory Casparian, Orhan Pamuk, and Tahsin Yücel. A further creator with Turkish ancestry is the UK-based musician Adem.
The country's known contributions to fantastic Cinema include the Vampire-themed Drakula Istanbul'da (1953) and the sf Flying Saucers over Istanbul (1955; original title Ucan Daireler Istanbulda) directed and written by Orhan Erçin, the latter being the earliest surviving Turkish sf movie. It may even be the first such production: Görünmeyen Adam Istanbul'da ["The Invisible Man in Istanbul"] (1955), a lost film, was released in the same year and it is not clear which preceded the other. Görünmeyen Adam Istanbul'da concerns a laboratory worker who steals an Invisibility potion from his boss, a chemist, so he can kill his adulterous wife and her lover. The next Turkish sf film was Gökler Kraliçesi ["Queen of the Skies"] (1960), about which information is scant: again the film is lost, but the poster features a Robot holding two men, whilst nearby a regal woman in a leotard stands outside a Spaceship. This is reminiscent of Flying Saucers over Istanbul, but has different directors (Şinasi Özonuk and Mehmet Muhtar) and a different cast. Contemporary newspaper listings advertise the film, but there seem to be no reviews from that time; a critic writing in 2013 dimly recalled it included scenes lifted from two US films, but was unsure which ones – and remembers little more than that, save for some walking around in the desert and singing.
Two obscure mid-1960s Turkish films are said by IMDb to contain sf elements: Ölüm Saçan Dudaklar ["Murderous Lips"] (1965) and Örümcek Adam ["Spider Man"] (1966) – the latter having no relation to the Marvel Comics book character, instead being the name of a con-man. Next came a series of five films about Kilink, a Villain in a skeleton costume (based on the Italian photo-comic character Killing); the first was Kilink Istanbul'da ["Kilink in Istanbul"] (1967), the last Kilink Frankestayn ve Dr. No'ya Karsi ["Kilink vs. Frankestein and Dr. No"] (1968) (see Frankenstein Monster). The 1960s also saw the poorly regarded Flash Gordon adaptation Baytekin – Fezada Çarpisanlar (1967), usually referred to in English as Flash Gordon's Battle in Space: the hero was renamed "Baytekin" when the original Comic strips were translated into Turkish.
From the 1970s, Turkish sf films became more common, a notable recent example being the award-winning animation Avarya (2019) directed and written by Gökalp Gönen (see the Avarya entry for brief notes on his other productions). [SP/DRL]
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