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2 Projects are nominated for the Dutch Doc Awards

2 Projects are nominated for the Dutch Doc Awards

Kemal’s Dream and Dark Moon (Afro Turks) are both nominated for the Dutch Doc Awards. Have a look at the incredible quality of this years nominees.

For the longlist click link above.


Here’s a link to buy my latest book “Kemal’s Dream”

After 6 years it’s finally here. Presented  at UNSEEN photography fair in Amsterdam you can now order a copy or a special edition through this link.



Dark Moon opens in Art Space Cezayir, Istanbul

for more info check this link.

Exhibition at the Rijks Museum Amsterdam and DEPO istanbul in 1 week.

The month of March starts amazing with 2 wonderful projects in mij 2 home countries.

One exhibition at the Rijks opened on the 7th of March. see link for more info. 

2 days later I opened at DEPO Istanbul. 

For mre info follow my facebook page on Kemal’s Dream.

Dark Moons opening this saturday at LhGWR in The Hague

11-15 May, Art Fair Amsterdam and on the 20 of May, The Afro Turks in The Hague.

Art fair Amsterdam

Between the 11th – 15th of May gallery Liefhertje will show some of my newest prints at the Art Fair in Amsterdam.
It’s a small selection of images that I made for the exhibition Kemal’s Dream at FOAM. Link Art Amsterdam

I’m currently working with award winning designer, Sybren Kuiper editing my latest book that goes with the exhibition Kemal’s Dream. We are hoping to present this by the end of this year.

On the 20th of May I’m presenting my newest publication on the Afro Turkish community at gallery Liefhertje in The Hague. Since 2006 I’ve been working on this long term project, collaborating with GUP editor in chief, Erik Vroons. Link Gallery Liefhertje.

It’s been one of my most challenging projects to date. And because of this we decided to open up all our personal stories, images and research and share them in this new publication. Looking forward hear what you think. So put the 20th of May on your agenda. If your not in the neighborhood don’t worry. The exhibition will travel to different countries. For updates on the agenda of my exhibits or lectures keep following my blog.

Mustafa Olpak interviewing one of the Oldest living African Turkish descendants in Izmir

Holland gets a wake up call, or do they need a bigger bell?

It’s sad but true, the economic crisis makes it harder for everybody. At the same time it shows what lies dormant within a Society. For the past 30 years, native Dutch people gave the responsibility of integration to their government. As a result the new generation of Dutch youth with a Turkish background don’t feel connected to the Dutch society. Just one word, Duhhh.
Many of them discus how to get out of Holland and move back to where their parents came from, Turkey.
On one hand you could say it’s an emotional decision. For a part that’s true, but I also believe it’s just economics. In a country with a strong growing economy which offers a lot of opportunities, especially to those who have a good education, it’s only obvious that Dutch Turks start to think the grass is greener on that side.
The original article is in Dutch. (see below for link)

The position of Turkish-Dutch youth is particularly worrying. Their attachment to the Dutch society will decline rapidly, thus a risk that these youngsters end up in social isolation.
There is a growing group of young people in psychological trouble, some are apathetic, others find their place in a more conservative perception within their faith. This growing group is turning away from society. We, Turkish-Dutch professionals, researchers, educators, education and labor experts and officials and policy advisors, are very concerned about this development.

More and more Turkish people tell us that they begin to feel that they have never been a part of Dutch society or even will be. Although they are born and raised in Netherlands young and are fully integrated, they still feel like second class citizens and believe that this will continue.

This is not only because these youngsters are still approached as outsiders , they are called ‘Turk’ or ‘Muslim’ and are in fact often excluded, or worse, discrimination. They feel less valued at school, in the nightlife and the labor market.

The inadequate representation of Turkish Dutch people in government, politics and the media reinforces the image among young people that they will face difficult odds. There are few Turkish Dutch that they can identify with. This is not only the result of a failed policy diversity, but also the lack of appealing “leaders” of Turkish-Dutch origin.

The participation of the young Turks in Dutch society stagnating or declining. About one in four young Turks of the second generation is unemployed.

It is worrying that a large number of Turkish-Dutch youth dropping out of high school. According to a study of the IMES (University of Amsterdam) is the drop-out rates among Turkish youth are much higher than among young Turks in other European countries.
Of the students who are in school, a large group has a significant gap between them and the indigenous youth. This creates the risk that structural disadvantage among the young Turks, and maybe it will increase. The danger is that Turks continue to depend on low-skilled and unskilled labor.

Among many Turkish Dutch is also the fear of increased competition on the labor of workers from new EU countries.

Mental Health
We are also worried about the mental health of young Turkish-Dutch. We see many young people lack self-confidence, the have anxiety, frustrations and an increase in severe psychological distress. This is confirmed by examination of Murat Can, who recently graduated at the University of Tilburg. He says the mental health of Turkish Dutch is worse than that of native Dutch and or Turks in Turkey.

Domestic violence
Another growing problem is domestic violence among Turkish youth. Among both boys and girls domestic violence is common, usually because of tension at home or a family structure that has broken down. For young people to discuss this kind of problem is often difficult. They are often struggling with internal pressure and social control by the family and community.

Weakening social safety net
The social safety net in the past that their parents still could appeal in many places become brittle. Many Turkish interest organizations have been weakened or disappeared. Arranged that the effect of different administrative failures, but several organizations have also weakened by the removal of government support for these organizations. The economic crisis and the aging of the migrant groups are less visitors can count on financial support from their own supporters and it is difficult (young) volunteers from the organizations involved.

The result is that the care and educational projects and courses offered by these organizations were offered in the past, largely disappeared. Many coffee houses have become migrant organizations, the former visitors walking around orphaned.

Category-specific facilities or activities for Turkish youths have disappeared in most places. Of course, general youth centers or facilities are there “for all young people”, but that does not mean that all young people feel welcome there too.

In part the mosques are filling up this gap. They offer young and elderly care and safety, religious and cultural activities.

Many mosques, especially Turkish mosques, still maintain close ties with the country of origin and include their imams from Turkey and just make a call on trained imams in the Netherlands. The Turkish government and Turkish mosques, religious organizations stay in touch with the grip on the lives of Turks in the Netherlands. Also, religious and political divisions in Turkey, so topical in the Netherlands.

The young people called on their loyalty to the ‘community’ enhancing the mutual dependence and less room for individual choice and development. This can be a discouraging factor for the integration and participation of young people. We are also concerned about the interest of a still small group of young radical interpretations of Islam.

All in all there is a growing group of young people are emerging who are feeling displaced. They do not feel welcome in Dutch society. Some withdraw into their own (religious) community, others are likely to go apart and lonely, serious psychological problems develop or are susceptible to the temptations of radicalism and criminality. That would not only be tragic for these youngsters, but for the entire Dutch society.

That Turkish Dutch want to keep contact with family and friends in Turkey is logical, but they must be able to get or keep the feeling that their future lies in the Netherlands. This means that the Turkish government is not their (religious) should interfere in the Netherlands and that Dutch society should invest in these young people.

Therefore, we urge government, education, business and Turkish organizations and for people to also give these young people to care. Give them the support they need, they offer general services where possible, but also categorical service if necessary. Encourage young people to participate and develop themselves as critical individuals. Shows that in the Netherlands, usually their home, welcome, make as government, media and industry diversity policies actually work. Integration is as yet no luxury. Invest in education, innovation and a favorable climate for entrepreneurs.

For the future of youth and of us all.