28 March 2019 – As part of the seminar series that CRS jointly organized with Tarih Vakfı on the intersecting histories of the Soviet Union and the Turkish Republic in the interwar period, Sam Hirst delivered the second talk (in Turkish), “The Heart of Turkey – Ankara: The Anti-Imperialism of Soviet-Turkish Cultural Relations.” In this talk, he asked what defined Soviet-Turkish interactions in the cultural sphere through an analysis of the 1934 Soviet-Turkish film, The Heart of Turkey – Ankara. Although framed as a documentary, the film pushed the boundaries of several genres. Not least, the film was deeply argumentative. The title itself points to the idea that the Turkish Republic was defined by the new capital and not İstanbul. Especially for the Soviet figures involved in the project, İstanbul was associated with the stories of French writers like Claude Farrère and Pierre Loti, stories that presented Turkey as a romantic and exotic alternative to European modernity. The Heart of Turkey – Ankara highlighted the modern elements of Turkey’s new capital, and in the film’s production and its reception, we can see how both Soviets and Turks managed to find a common language in what they saw as opposition to condescending and Orientalist depictions of Turkey common in Western art.