Turkish ultranationalists threaten filmmaker over Genocide movie

Turkish ultranationalists threaten filmmaker over Genocide movie

PanARMENIAN.Net - An ultranationalist Turkish group has threatened renowned German-Turkish director Fatih Akin for his upcoming movie “The Cut,” which explores themes regarding the Armenian Genocide, according to Asbarez.

A magazine named Ötüken, the publication of the Turkish Turanist Association, has released an online statement, saying it would not allow the movie to be released in Turkey after it discovered that the German-Turkish director conducted an interview with the Armenian weekly Agos.

“We openly threaten Agos Newspaper, Armenian fascists and so-called intellectuals,” the message read. “That movie will not be released in a single movie theater in Turkey. We are following the developments with our white caps and Azerbaijani flags.”

The white cap is a clear reference to the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was killed in broad daylight in Istanbul on Jan 19, 2007, as the hit-man, Ogün Samast, was wearing a white cap when he murdered the editor-in-chief of Agos.

In the new Akin movie, Tahar Rahim, a French actor of Algerian origin, plays an Armenian man living in Mardin, located in the southeastern part of Turkey, who survived the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and begins a journey that takes him to America in a search for his two daughters.

The Turkish ultranationalists have claimed that the movie was the “first step of several steps to make Turkey accept the so-called lie of the Armenian genocide,” a statement by the group read.

The movie is expected to be out in the fall.

In his interview with Agos, the 40-year-old filmmaker said he was preparing a movie on the life of Hrant Dink. However, Akin, best known for his movies depicting Germany’s cross-cultural lives, such as “Short Sharp Shock,” “Head-On” and “The Edge of Heaven,” said he failed to find a Turkish actor willing to depict the influential writer.

“I planned to shoot a movie about Hrant Dink after ‘Soul Kitchen’ [in 2009]. I wrote a scenario based on 12 articles by Hrant Dink, which were published in Agos. I don’t know whether it would have been a good movie. But I could not persuade any Turkish actor to perform as Hrant. They all found the situation too heavy [to handle]. Then I had to freeze the project,” he said. Hamburg-born Akın won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival with “Head-On” and the Best Screenplay award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival with “The Edge of Heaven.”

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, the Italian Chamber of Deputies, majority of U.S. states, parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Belgium and Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Chamber of Commons of Canada, Polish Sejm, Vatican, European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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