Documentary reveals adventures of Ottoman sailor Piri Reis, Christopher Columbus

Documentary reveals adventures of Ottoman sailor Piri Reis, Christopher Columbus

İZMİR - Doğan News Agency
Documentary reveals adventures of Ottoman sailor Piri Reis, Christopher Columbus Researcher and documentary maker Gülşah Çeliker has pushed the button to make a documentary on the famous 16th century Ottoman admiral, cartographer and sailor Piri Reis.

Çeliker, who made her name heard with the project on Turkey’s first female fighter pilot, Sabiha Gökçen, says she is very excited to present the 75-minute documentary to Turkish and international audiences.

The documentary will feature dramatic reconstructions starring actor Mehmet Günsur as Piri Reis, Riccardo Scamarcio as Christopher Columbus and actress Deniz Özdoğan. Can Atill will reportedly compose the music for the film.

Çeliker said she prepared the film by researching Piri Reis in the Ottoman archives as well as in the Vatican, Venice, Spain and Portugal naval archives.

She said the idea for the venture started in 2004 at an international symposium on Piri Reis.

“With the support of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, I made my first Mediterranean trip in mid-2008 for the documentary. I was trying to provide maximum support to the project by getting in touch with important institutes and travelling between Turkey, Venice and Rome,” Çeliker said. 

“When I saw Piri Reis had drawn Italy most, apart from Ottoman territory, I carried the project to Italy. I started researching our common naval history and got into the archives of the Vatican and Italian Naval Forces,” she added. 

After the famous Piri Reis Map was found in the inventory of the Topkapı Palace in 1929, German orientalist and Professor Paul Kahle attended the 18th Orientalists Congress in the Netherlands to introduce this discovery to the world and explained the original link between the Piri Reis map and the lost map of Christopher Columbus. 

“Considering this congress, I worked in the Dutch archives and did interviews there. I needed separate work for some special documents in the Dutch Royal Archive. Amsterdam has a significant place for my discoveries and archive research,” Çeliker said.

‘I can’t wait’

She also said that if she can find a sponsor she will meet the grandchild of Columbus in Madrid, as well as with a researcher who made books on the harbor where the naval archives and Columbus’s ships are in Barcelona, and on the common points of Piri Reis and Columbus.

“We will finish the documentary at the end of this year and present it to Turkish and international audiences. As the Köprüler Production, we continue making the most accurate and most comprehensive research on Piri Reis and the unknown details about his life and work,” Çeliker said.

“I have also written a history book titled ‘Cartographer and Explorer’ on the relationship between Piri Reis and Columbus, and I based a film script on the research, memories and stories I noted while writing the book. Now I can’t wait to share Piri Reis’s adventure with Columbus with the world,” she added.