Ferah Öztürk (English text: Ferah Ozturk)

Recorded in April, 2019

Interviewer: Uğur Yılnaz

Ferah Öztürk’s personal history serves as an important example of cross-cultural connections and legacies.  She was born in 1965 to an Afro-Turk family.  However, at the age of 2 or 3 (the dates are unclear in the interview), Öztürk was adopted by a prominent white Turkish family in Istanbul.  The interview focuses on her relationship with her adoptive parents and her attempts to cross racial lines in Turkey.  Öztürk makes clear that she did not experience overt racism or color discrimination in Turkey.  The principal interview of Öztürk is Uğur Yılnaz.

Öztürk speaks at length about the role of race and color in her life.  She didn’t identify as an Afro-Turk for many years, largely due to the fact that she was the only child of color in her friend group.  She describes learning about the Afro-Turk Association, and she spends some time about the history and heritage of the Afro-Turks in the Ottoman empire.  She did not have an opportunity to meet Mustafa Olpak, the leader of the Afro-Turks from 2006 to 2016.  She speaks highly of his memory.

Öztürk now owns a successful tailoring business in Izmir.  Though she was not formally educated in costume design, she gained considerable experience working with her brother in the field.  Together they opened a business in which he tailored men’s clothing and she worked as a seamstress of women’s clothing. She dreamt of using business acumen and her artistic talents to open a fashion house in Izmir. The interview explores this professional goal and ambitions.

Interview notes – This interview was recorded over several segments. The four longest and most substantial segments are above.  There is a Turkish-language transcript of this interview below. A future project will focus on combining the four segments into one long interview and translating the Turkish transcription into English. Finally, there are additional recordings that did not make into the final edited version. These additional recordings have not been translated.

All videos are the property of Nikki Brown, the Afro-Turk Association, and AfroTurks.createuky.net. They may be used or reproduced for educational or academic research and scholarship purposes. For other commercial purposes, access and use require the expressed written consent of Nikki Brown and the Afro-Turk Association. Before using the interviews for research, educational, or commercial purposes, please email Nikki Brown for more information.

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Ferah and Ugur together 1
Ferah in her sewing shop
Ugur, Ferah, and Tuna at the camera
Ferah using sewing machine
Ferah with painting
Ferah and the team together: (left to right), Sadi, Tuna, Beyhan, Ugur, Ferah, Serhan, Sakir

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