German-Turkish director Fatih Akın threatened by ultranationalists

German-Turkish director Fatih Akın threatened by ultranationalists

German-Turkish director Fatih Akın threatened by ultranationalists An ultranationalist Turkish group has threatened famous director Fatih Akın for his upcoming movie “The Cut,” which explores controversial themes regarding the Armenian issue.

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 Akın 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 killings of 1915 and begins a journey that takes him to America in a search for his two daughters.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their forebears were killed in 1915 and 1916 by the forces of the Ottoman Empire in what many around the world have termed a “genocide,” which Ankara denies. Meanwhile, Turkey disputes the figure, arguing that only 500,000 died while also denying that the killings amounted to genocide, attributing the toll to fighting and starvation during World War I.

Earlier this year, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a statement of condolences on the eve of the 99th anniversary of the deeply contested deaths, unexpectedly describing the events of 1915 as “inhumane.” However, some U.S.-based Armenian advocacy groups continue to claim that the words were “cold-hearted and cynical.”

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 Dink. However, Akın, 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.”