The First Turk Immigrant or The Nameless Heroes of The Revolution

The First Turk Immigrant or The Nameless Heroes of The Revolution takes, as its point of departure, the 1960s negotiations between Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom and Turkey about what we now call the guest worker. Even though ‘guest worker’ immigrants had very diverse ethnic origins they all fell under the collective noun ‘The Turk Immigrant’. Many of these men and women emigrated not only for economical, but also for political reasons. Some left under political pressure because their views were not in line with the Turkish governments of the time. But they did not flee because they gave up hope; some of these political refugees remained active in politics, while others found different ways to give form to their ideals.

By identifying a political refugee from Turkey in each country which part of the initial treatise concerning the guest workers from Turkey (under which pretext they emigrated) narratives of what I call ‘the Nameless Hero’ will come to the fore. Those who had to leave Turkey because of political reasons, silenced in their own country, acquire a voice in this project. Mostly unheard of within the popular discussion concerning The First Turk Immigrant, these Nameless He- roes kept struggling for their beliefs and, step by step, paved the path towards change.

The First Turk Immigrant or The Nameless Heroes of The Revolution enfolds a narrative in five chapters.

Chapter I, and central to the project are the bronze busts of each of the representative Nameless Heroes. The subsequent chapters narrate, in multiple forms and diverse media, the history of the Nameless Heroes and The Revolution they were part of.

Chapter II is the postal stamps with the image of each of the participant Nameless Heroes, as if they were famous/important persons in Europe during 1970s. All the official communication throughout the project contains both the hallmark and the post stamps. Inside the envelopes, there is information about The First Turk Immigrant or The Nameless Heroes of The Revolution and the biography of each representative. It is free to take for the audience.

Chapter III will exist out of maps, formed by the hallmark of The First Turk Immigrant or The Nameless Heroes of The Revolution, of each of the countries the Nameless Heroes represent. I use a stamp of the hallmark and an ink pad to make the maps, each one of them containing as much stamps as there are Turk immigrants in that country. This will make about 5.000.000 stamps for the 9 Countries.

Chapter IV is interested to develop different types of presentations by using the language of the busts which could hint to the past and yet insert an ambiguity both in the historical narrative as in the language of the monument. Thereby I envision to pair the busts of these selected figures (Chapter I) which are mount- ed on a trailer car, as a kind of “mobile monument” as well as a tribute to these unsung heroes in public space.

Chapter V, the final chapter, will employ a more open-ended poetic approach, inspired by the anecdotes and stories of the Nameless Heroes and above all their interest and influence by art, some of them being amateur or even professional photographers, craftsman, writers, poets, or musicians. At the same time this chapter tells about the research; interpreting the stories of the Nameless Heroes, inter- weaving them with the general histories, and archiving the process.