Necati Sönmez

Mavi Kuş Dayanışma

Türkiye · Visual Arts

© Fırat Yücel

Turkish critic, journalist and documentary filmmaker Necati Sönmez’s initiative Mavi Kuş Dayanışma (Blue Bird Solidarity), organises free workshops to children, in order to create safe spaces and provide psychosocial support, in Hatay, after the devastating earthquake that struck southern Turkey and northern Syria. Mavi Kuş Dayanışma, an anonymous and collective initiative, comprises over 70 volunteers, the majority of whom are women.

Back in February 2023, ‘Mavi Kuş Dayanışma (Blue Bird Solidarity) was launched just after the devastating earthquake that struck southern Turkey and northern Syria. After this traumatic destruction, thousands of children were deprived of education and other social services. The initiative involves two networks: one of artists, activists and educators offering voluntary workshops, and the other of individuals and local organizations in the region Antakya. These collaborations primarily benefit children who have suffered trauma by providing them with creative outlets and support while stimulating creativity.

Necati Sönmez (Antakya, 1967) is a critic, journalist and documentary filmmaker who previously studied aeronautical engineering in Istanbul. Since 2008, he has been the initiator of the Which Human Rights? film festival and one of the founders and programmers of Documentarist Istanbul Documentary Days, which has rapidly become the most important documentary festival in Turkey. He has been a jury member at over 30 film festivals, has contributed to various magazines, newspapers and web portals as a writer, and has organized several film programs. He also prepared regular radio programs on music and cinema.

In 1995 and again in 1999, he won the ‘Abdi Ipekçi Prize for Peace and Friendship’, which was initially created to promote Greek-Turkish friendship and co-operation. His first film, Theo’s Gaze (2003), focuses on the work of Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos, while his multi-award-winning To Make an Example of (2007) explores the reasons behind the deaths of hundreds of people executed since the founding of the Turkish Republic. He has produced several films, including Housekeeper (2006), Sisters of Lilith (2008) and The Trace of the Butterfly (2014), among many others.

© Steffen Moestrup

© Steffen Moestrup