Monday, December 22, 2008

A Smoker and an At Times "Ordinary" Man: Heaven Forfend!

From TDZ:
Journalist-documentary maker Can Dündar gave testimony at the Ankara Prosecutor’s Office on Saturday after criminal complaints were filed against his latest documentary film, which recounts the lesser-known sides of the life of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.

“Mustafa,” which hit the theaters on Oct. 29, Republic Day, was the latest effort by Dündar, who has written and directed several documentaries on the life of Atatürk over the past 15 years, starting with his 1993 television documentary “Sarı Zeybek.”
This latest film brought with it heated debate in all segments of society over whether it depicts Atatürk’s character and private life correctly.

Criminal complaints against Dündar were filed by three individuals.

On Nov. 10, the anniversary of Atatürk’s death, Ahmet Ercan, founder of the Anti-Smoking Association, and Orhan Kural, honorary president of the Fighting against Smoking Foundation, filed a criminal complaint against “Mustafa,” in which Atatürk is frequently shown smoking.

The complaint reads: “The content of the film and its interpretation of its topics damage the republic and Atatürk. Damaging such values can lead to the breakup of Turkey and to the loss of national pride. On top of that, the father of the Turks has been shown smoking and drinking heavily. His esteem has been lowered. A person who was a good example for Turkish youth has been killed spiritually. The biggest cigarette advertisement in Turkish history has been made using Atatürk.”

Ercan and Kural submitted the petition to the Şişli Prosecutor’s Office to be sent to the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office. They claimed that Dündar’s film violates the law on “preventing damage from tobacco products and their control.”

Another criminal complaint against Dündar was filed by lawyer Gülnihal Soydan, who claimed a lawsuit should be filed against not only Dündar but the entire cast and the sponsors of the documentary.

Soydan claimed that the documentary depicted Atatürk as an ordinary man by referring to him as “Mustafa” and constituted a crime under a law regarding crimes committed against Atatürk.
For more on Dundar's film, click here.

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