Ayla Gala in Washington, DC, Sparks Emotion and Touches the Heart


Last night, the Yunus Emre Enstitüsü in Washington, D.C. and the Institute of Technology, Economics and Diplomacy (INTED) hosted a gala for the Screening of the movie “Ayla: Daughter of War.” The movie was the Turkish official candidate for the best Foreign Language Film entry in the Oscars 2017, and depicts the scary face of the Korean War and tells the story of a Korean orphan, Ayla, and a Turkish solider, Sergeant Suleyman.

The gala took place at the United States Navy Memorial. This touching true-life story is about not about war, although war is the setting. But rather, the movie is about love, peace and the magnificent sacrifice of those who dedicated their lives during the Korean War. There was not a dry eye in the cinema at the end of the movie, as it touched human emotions.

The gala started off with a reception of Turkish and Korean Hors-d’oeuvres with people from all cultures. The night provided a great opportunity to promote peace and unity, which is seen in the movie. In attendance were Christina Higgins, Acting Deputy Assistant for Public Diplomacy of the U.S. Department of State; Verna Jones, the Executive Director of the American Legion; Mr. Cheon Joonho, Minister for Public Diplomacy and Public Communication for the Embassy of the Republic of Korea; Ambassador Sedar Kilic, the Turkish Ambassador to the US; Mrs. Harriett Fulbright; and Gokhan Coskun, CEO of INTED. But, the night was also about the importance of peace and unity. Ambassador Kilic, spoke on the realities of war and mentioned those affected by the humanitarian crises and conflicts especially in Syria.

Sergeant Süleyman is one of the thousands of Turkish soldiers sent to join the Korean War under the U.N. command from 1950 to 1953. In the face of tragedy, after Ayla’s parents were killed and the entire village massacred, Sergeant Süleyman risked his life to save the little girl that was left freezing in the cold right beside her dead mother. Not having any information about her, Sergeant Süleyman smuggles her into the Army base and names her “Ayla.” As Süleyman’s deployment ends, he is unable to bring Ayla to Turkey with him. He spends his entire life fighting to reunite with Ayla. After decades and with the help of people and organizations from around the world, the two are once again reunited. The two form an inseparable bond, and Ayla becomes a symbol of love and hope not only for Süleyman, but for all the Turkish soldiers.

Those in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, keep a look out for screenings. The film’s international director, Pia Pinar Ercan has been promoting the film and getting international attention.

Seele will be interviewing Pia in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes out for the interview.

Ayla: The Daughter of War Trailer