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Turkish history film

Turkish delight in epic film Fetih 1453

It's the film that is making millions of Turkish hearts swell with even more patriotic pride than usual. Fetih 1453, a turbans-and-testosterone epic, has not just smashed all Turkish box office records with its all-action, CGI retelling of Mehmet II's capture of the old Byzantine capital, Constantinople, it is being hailed as a reaffirmation that a resurgent Turkey still has world-conquering blood in its veins.

As the religious-minded daily newspaper Zaman noted, "Turks are feeling imperial again" after a decade of unprecedented economic growth, and are turning more and more toward their Ottoman ancestors for inspiration – in foreign policy as much as in interior design, food and fashion, with a neo-Ottomanist push to reassert Turkish diplomatic hegemony over the sultans' former Arab and eastern European domains.

The film's religious overtones – with a walk-on part for the prophet Muhammad, predicting the old Roman capital would one day fall to the faithful – have attracted a new, observant audience to cinemas and especially endeared it to the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, chiming as it does with his vision to "raise devout generations … who should embrace our historic values".

Some in his party are now demanding it be shown in schools as an antidote to Hollywood's "crusader mentality" – not that the film is itself entirely innocent of historical licence, for example its portrayal of the last Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI, as a hedonist (he was mostly celibate); the city's magnificence (it had been comprehensively sacked by western crusaders in 1204); and the fact that there were far more Greeks fighting for the sultan than defending the walls. Nearly as many of Mehmet's soldiers would have been praying to the Virgin on the morning of the final assault in May 1453, as to Allah.

In another scene, sappers tunnelling under the immense land walls that had not been breached in 1, 000 years, blow themselves up with a cry of "Allahu Akbar" rather than be captured by the Byzantines. In reality, Mehmet's tunnellers were orthodox Christians drafted from Serbia's silver mines.

While the public may be besieging cinemas to see the film, the critical verdict has been far from unanimous, even at Zaman. The critic Emine Yildirim warned that it pandered to "extreme nationalism" and old Turkish stereotypes of their Christian neighbours. "As we are so infuriated by seeing demeaning and Orientalist depictions of the east in western blockbusters, we should at least have the decency not to make the same mistakes, " she said.

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PBS documentary on Armenian Genocide

by compassrose

Tonight on KQED, 10pm. Many other PBS affiliates as well.
I'd encourage you to check it out before the 90th Memorial Day of the genocide on April 24th.
This documentary covers an event in history in
which as many as 1.5 million innocent Armenians
were murdered at the hands of the Ottoman Turks
and Kurds. This event took place under cover of
the war in the area that today is considered
Eastern Turkey and continues to be denied by the
Turkish government.
Web site on the film:

Russia adopting US style propaganda

by _

Tom Parfitt in Moscow
Monday March 14, 2005
The Guardian
The Russian defence ministry has claimed that a new blockbuster film twists history and sullies the memory of a legendary general.
Released last month, Turkish Gambit has broken Russian box office records as thousands pour into cinemas to see the swashbuckling tale of romance and adventure, set during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78.
The film is one of a new series of high budget, patriotic movies funded by state television.
But officers in Moscow have reacted furiously to it, saying that a character based on General Mikhail Skobelev is depicted as a "great braggart" who enjoys hobnobbing with women and journalists.


by Emmanuel_Goldstein

Spurred by general release in Turkey of Atom Egoyan's "Ararat". Not without a few bumps along the way.
ISTANBUL — Turks are among the world's proudest and most patriotic people, and many feel an especially deep admiration for their army, without which the nation might never have emerged from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire more than 80 years ago. But are they ready to see a film in which Ottoman Turkish soldiers shoot defenseless civilians and burn women alive? That question has set off a bitter debate here.
The film is "Ararat," a 2002 release by the Armenian-Canadian director Atom Egoyan in which the expulsion of Armenians from what is now eastern Turkey in 1915 is depicted in scenes of horrific brutality

Greek islanders visit Turkey for grocery shopping  — Daily Sabah
.. many people come to Turkey from the Greek Islands including Lesbos. "Greek tourists come to Kemeraltı between 10:00 a.m. and 04:30p.m. Within this time period, they spend [quite a bit].

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