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Momi (Özcan Alper, 2001)

'[Özcan Alper, a Hemshinli from the eastern branch from a village in Kemalpaşa district (bucak)] shot a 25-minute film ('Momi' — 'Grandma'), the first in the Armenian dialect (with Turkish and English subtitles) of the Hopa Hemshinli in 2000. The story of a young boy and an old Hemshinli woman, it was filmed in a summer pasture (yayla) in the Pontic Alps (Kaçkar Dağları) and also contained some songs in Hemşince (the Hemshin dialect). This film, which was shown at the Twentieth International Istanbul Film Festival, was received enthusiastically by the audience, but evoked concern on the part of the Turkish authorities. They opened a trial against Alper at the DGM court [Devlet Güvenlik Mahkemesi, the Court(s) for State Security, an official tool for the political discipline of dissidents, which evaluates 'thought crimes'] in Erzurum due to his alleged violation of Paragraph 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. Due to the requirements of membership in the European community, Turkey had to cancel Paragraph 8 in July 2003 and, as a result, Alper's trial came to a happy end.'

From Rüdiger Benninghaus's "Manipulating ethnic origins and identity", the last chapter of The Hemshin — History, society and identity in the Highlands of Northeast Turkey edited by Hovann H. Simonian (London & New York: Routledge, 2007 — part of Routledge's 'Caucasus World' series).

For more on the Hemshin people, Bert Vaux published an interesting article in 1996 available here on

Momi is, of course, on Youtube, but image quality is poor, and the author of this website suggests you download the three parts in case they disappear from Youtube one day (just paste the videos' individual "addresses" into a website such as