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Saima Altunkaya is a German-Assyrian photographer who lives and works in Paris. In the early years of her career she established herself as a beauty and fashion photographer for magazines and advertising campaigns. In 2014 she was awarded with the prestigious price of the Festival International de la Photographie de Mode in Cannes.
It was in 2013, during a professional assignment, that she returned to the region where her family originated: Tur Abdin, a limestone mountain range on the upper reaches of the Tigris in southeastern Turkey. It is still home to a small number of remaining Assyrians, an ancient people who suffered persecution and oppression which forced many of them to flee - a fate that also befell her family.
The journey became a  life-changing spiritual revelation. Subsequently, she began an intense process of confrontation with her origins and family history. The rediscovery and acceptance of her identity led her away from the glamour of fashion photography to the Tur Abdin's photographic documentation.

From then on, she began to report on the region with renowned journalists, for newspapers and magazines such as Le Figaro, Revue 21, Codex Magazine and many others.
By photographing the remaining cultural heritage of the Tur Abdin region and its inhabitants, she aims to preserve the remains that have survived countless years of abandonment and destruction.


DEPO / Tütün Deposu Lüleci Hendek Istanbul

Shared Sacred Sites

May 26 - June 28 - 2021

Cermodern in Ankara

Shared Sacred Sites

May 04 - Juliy 04 - 2021

Venue Name, City  

JULY 17 - OCTOBER 1 - 2023

DEPO / Tütün Deposu Lüleci Hendek Istanbul

Shared Sacred Sites

April 20 - July 28 - 2019


Le Figaro

Turquie : dans les pas des derniers syriaques 

Le Figaro

En Turquie, le régime d'Erdogan grignote les biens des minorités religieuses 


Au Tur Abdin, sanctuaire des derniers Araméens.

Revue 21

Thierry Oberlé

La dernière « Rose » d’Anatolie

Le Figaro

Naufrage annoncé sur les eaux du Tigre turc

Corriere della Sera

Io più forte dell’Isis

Contact Me

+33 (0) 612 84 3561

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