Turkey on the Edge

  • Sundance

A personal and courageous film from the inside of the democratic opposition in Turkey.




52 min 


Imre Azem



Turkey on the Edge shows the radical changes in Turkey from an inner perspective and what it means to be part of the opposition. Turkish filmmaker Imre Azem accompanies five protagonists for one year in the state of emergency:

Fatih Polat, journalist and editor in chief of the left-wing Newspaper Evernsel; Gül Köksal, one of the first academics fired by the state; activist Deniz Özgür and Mücella Yapici, „mother“ of the Gezi protests and member of the Chamber of Architects in Istanbul.

The filmmaker starts his narration in 2013 when the Gezi protests unified millions of people from different political parties in a democratic movement. In this peak moment of political protest Imre Azem meets his five protagonists who constantly struggle for democracy in their country – risking their personal freedom. In 2016 they are involved in founding an independent parliament called  „Unity for Democracy“ with over 100 members. It was established after the coup attempt when many parliament members were dismissed.

According to official statements  51 percent of the Turkish population voted for Erdogan’s presidential system. The protagonists are part of the other 49 per cent. Nevertheless there are forces that try to unify the divided society based on common democratic values and to create an alternative to Erdogan’s politics. The protagonists walk on a very thin line between their personal commitment for democracy and the increasing external pressure.

A parallel editing contrasts this tension, the official statements of the government and the experience of the protagonists and creates an emotional and intense image of the last year.

In a mix of archives – from the Gezi protests in 2013, the coup attempt in 2016 to Erdogan’s speech after the referendum in 2017 – and the personal stories of the protagonists, Turkey on the Edge is a testimony to the country’s shift to a yet undefined destination.

Written and directed by
Imre Azem

Fatih Pınar
Imre Azem

Original Music

Sound Mix
Jörg Höhne
Yalın Özgencil

Colour Grading
Tobias Schaarschmidt

Postproduction Manager
Xavier Agudo

Production Manager
Anique Roelfsema

Line Producer
Kathrin Isberner

Zora Nessl

Archive Footage
Hakan Tosun
Fatih Pınar
Ali Şeker

Turkey on the Edge
  • „Just in diesem Moment überraschen uns die aus dem Theaterbereich stammenden jungen Regisseure Hans Block und Moritz Riesewieck mit einem erstaunlichen Dokumentarfilm, der seit Monaten Publikum und Kritik auf den wichtigsten Festivals der Welt elektrisiert. Völlig zu Recht: Es ist, als würden einem die Scheuklappen weggerissen, als sähe man das, was sich seit Jahren direkt vor unseren Augen abspielt, zum ersten Mal unverschleiert... eine fesselnde ,Doku noir' mit höchstem Anspruch...Dieser Film müsste an allen Schulen gezeigt werden.“
    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

In co-production with

  • zdf
  • kibrit

In association with

  • arte
  • RTS

Funded by