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Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit
Next Turkish blockbuster revisits Marmara
New film in 'Valley of the Wolves' series tells of secret agent out to avenge deaths of Turkish civilians

An IDF officer stands before a Palestinian policeman, beside a brick wall plastered with posters of Yasser Arafat. The hostility between them is evident in their body language as the Israeli officer says haughtily, "We've come to arrest the terrorists hiding here."

 

"This is Palestine," the Palestinian answers. "You have no authority in this area. Take yourself and your people and get out of here." Behind the Israeli man two officers stand with guns out, awaiting his orders. Then the director yells, "Cut!"

 

The scene is one of many to be shown in a new Turkish movie, 'Valley of the Wolves: Palestine', from the creators of the 2003 television series that first caused tensions to flare up between Turkey and Israel.

 

The tension culminated with an incident in which Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon placed the Turkish ambassador in a chair lower than his own before TV cameras.

 

The new movie was inspired by the IDF raid on the Turkish vessel 'Mavi Marmara', which attempted to sail to Gaza on May 31.

 

It follows a 2006 film by the same directors, 'Valley of the Wolves: Iraq', in which the US invasion of the country was condemned. Four million Turks – a record-breaking number – watched the $10 million film, but its success outside the country was limited.

 

'Valley of the Wolves: Palestine' continues to relay the story of a fictional secret agent, Polat Alemdar, who is sent to Gaza and the West Bank in an effort to track down the IDF officer who ordered the raid on the Marmara and avenge the death of the nine Turkish citizens who died on board.

 

"We are aiming at the consciences of all film-goers," says Bahadir Ozdener, one of the three script-writers who worked on the movie, who claims profit is a secondary concern.

 

"All we want is freedom for the innocent Palestinians who suffer and live in sub-human conditions in the largest prison on earth."  


Ayalon seats ambassador on low seat (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

 

'Film not anti-Semitic'

The director, Zubeyr Sasmaz, who is also the brother of its star, says the film may be based on the Marmara raid but that the real plot centers around the way in which Simon, a Jewish-American tour guide, learns of the Palestinians' suffering and understands "the truth".

 

"She represents American individualism, and shows humanity when she is forced to live among Arabs. She is the only character that develops after learning of the human tragedy in Gaza," Sasmaz says.

 

The film's directors reiterated their claim of many years that their new creation, scheduled to premiere in October, makes no religious claims and is not anti-Semitic.

 

This claim is, however, not expected to be taken without a grain of salt by the average Jew or Israeli. In reports on the production company's previous creations, Ynet has shown scenes in which characters portraying IDF officers kidnap infants and murder innocent civilians.

 

The film's production team also includes a Palestinian advisor, who helped create the scenery according to his view of Tul-Karem, Gaza, and Beit Lid, according to a report by the New York Times.

 

The man asked to remain anonymous out of fear for his family's security, but was quoted saying he was happy to be a part of a project that would expose his people's "suffering".

 

 

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