Spurred By Gay Honor Killing Of A Friend, Turkish Couple Produces Film

In Turkey, a zenne is a male belly dancer. It’s also the title of a film about gay love in Turkey, produced by Istanbul gay couple Mehmet Binay and Caner Alper.

The pair decided to make the movie after, their friend Ahmet Yildiz was shot to death by his father in 2008 for having a boyfriend. It’s considered the first gay honor killing in Turkey, and his father is still on the lam.

Though they’ve been together for 14 years, Binay and Alper only recently came out as a couple: Their families thought that would be “career suicide,” they told CNN. “Until we won five awards from the first festival that we attended.”

Zenne, according to its press notes is:

A feature film about an unusual trio: Daniel, a German photojournalist in Istanbul without much knowledge about Middle Eastern values. Can, a flamboyant, out-and-proud male belly dancer with lots of love and support from his family, and Ahmet, born to an Eastern and conservative family, whose quest for honesty and liberty results in a tragic end.

The men hope the film will make gay rights an issue that Turkish people can’t just ignore anymore. “Death and murder is still on the agenda of our country. We can’t get rid of this mentality,” said Binay. “People need to tolerate each other. They need to understand that different identities can live next to each other without disturbing each other.”


Photo: Sara Anjargolian


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  • Michael in Toronto

    Looks really interesting.

  • shannon


  • dome

    ‘Gay Honor Killing of a Friend’…

    how does one ‘gay kill’ another?

  • Mike UK

    @dome: idiot! he was killed for being gay and bringing shame to the family!

  • Wies

    @Mike UK:

    i still do agree that ‘honor killing of a friend that was gay’ is a better way of phrasing then ‘gay honor killing’. just like ‘marriage of a same sex couple’ is more correct then ‘gay marriage’. Understandable one is easier on the tongue, but the other is correct.

    Dome probably fully understood it, and was merely remarking on the weirdness of a ‘gay honor killing’ as a way to name the foul act.

  • Will

    Looks excellent. Where can I see it?

  • sandy k

    An “Honor Killing” in the Muslim world, is when a member of the family, (usually a woman or a girl), has brought “dis-Honor on the family”, by engaging in pre-marital sex (losing her virginity), adultery, converting to another religion, or engaging in ANY scandalous behavior that brings “shame” on the family! That “Honor” can only be RESTORED, by a member of the family (usually a male member), killing the wayward member of the family, thus removing the “stain” from the family!
    So the first gay “Honor killing”, was when a person was killed by a member of his family for being openly gay, and bringing “shame” and “dis-honor” on his family!
    “Honor Killings” have only recently begun the be punished seriously in the Muslim world, and that primarily do to Human Rights protests by Western nations. For centuries the (Honor) “killers” would be given a slap on the wrist!

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