I rejoined the crew for the rest of the Ankara shoot. We filmed Suphi Gursoytrak, former member of the National Unity Committee. He sounded generally sad and pessimistic about the future of the country; it was after the bombing of the Ataturk’s Thoughts Society, of which he was a member. We also interviewed Cehan Mumcu, the former Deputy Mayor of Ankara and the brother of the journalist and car-bomb victim Ugur Mumcu. At the end of the day, we filmed Ayvaz Gokdemir, a member of Parliament and former minister of state. Sundown came; he obsevered Ramazan, and he must have been hungry, but nothing on heaven or earth could interru
pt his 90-minute tirade against the 1997 military intervention that deposed Erbakan. He gave a no-holds-barred talk that could have easily gotten him a lengthy jail sentence, giving us great quotes about the “thieving politicians” and the army which “jumps right into the laps of big capital” and “herds the people like donkeys.” After the cameras stopped rolling, he discovered that I was Jewish and related the following story: “When I was a child, we would draw circles on the floor around Jewish children, because we heard that that was the way to trap them so they couldn’t escape.” Gokdemir was the perfect opposite of Donmezer, who was the first subject we had filmed in Istanbul – in this case, I found our subject to be a great guy, but his ideas to be abhorrent.
We got a phone call: meet us at this address at 11:30PM. The address turned out to be an empty parking lot. A car pulled up at 11:45 and flashed its lights. We followed the driver up a mountain and reached a building
It was time to get out of Ankara. We drove back to Istanbul the next morning, and the first thing we did when we got there was to mail the footage to the U.S. We labeled the tapes “Wedding tape,” wrapped them up in gift-wrap, included a pretty card, and sent them via DHL to my parents’ house in Connecticut. We were all getting a little paranoid. I wanted to set up some final shoots in Istanbul before moving back to the US to edit the film. We called some Members of Parliament and began hearing “We’ve been expecting your call.” Although only 30,000 Turks had email, I began writing letters only from my web-based account and telling the recipients not to include my text in their reply.