Turkish foster father of Korean war orphan remembered

10/12/2018

A large audience late Friday flocked to the screening of an acclaimed Turkish film set during the Korean War organized by the Washington branch of Turkey’s Yunus Emre Institute and Turkish and Consulate General of Turkey in Chicago.

Attending the premiere of Ayla: Daughter of War at Chicago’s prestigious movie theater Gene Siskel Film Center, were the high-ranking U.S., and Turkish guests such as Honorable Consul General Umut Acar, U.S. director of the Yunus Emre Institute Halid Bulut, Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Stephen Curda, consuls from other countries and Korean veterans.

Speaking before the screening, both Consul General Acar and YEE Director Bulut emphasized the courage and determination of Turkish soldiers in the 1950-1953 Korean War.

Thanking the attendees for their presence, Acar said: “Based on an incident during the Korean War, Ayla: Daughter of War movie highlights the story of heroism and humanitarian values of Sergeant Suleyman. Today is also the anniversary of his demise. We hereby commemorate all our martyrs and thank our veterans.”

Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Curda who was a former US soldier also said the story of the movie meant a lot to him and that he thanked Yunus Emre Institute and Chicago Consulate General of Turkey for giving an opportunity to watch the movie.

“In these days when peace is the most precious asset, this film shows the benevolent behavior of the Turkish people to the ones who are oppressed even under war conditions,” said U.S. director of the Yunus Emre Institute Bulut, adding that he was extremely happy for the attention shown to the movie by Americans.

Ayla: Daughter of War tells the true story of an orphaned Korean girl discovered by a Turkish soldier during the war. The two form an unbreakable bond as the war goes on, and Ayla becomes a symbol of hope for all the Turkish soldiers.

The movie not only tells a story of hope and love in a time of war but also about how the world came together years later to reunite Ayla and her soldier friend, Sgt. Suleyman.

Turkish forces served under the UN Command during the Korean War, and 774 Turkish soldiers were martyred.