TURKISH TELEVISION TO AIR FILM ON ARMENIAN KILLINGS
Agence France Presse — English
April 12, 2006 Wednesday 11:52 AM GMT
A private television station will broadcast a controversial movie
on the massacres of Armenians during World War I for the first time
in Turkey where the subject still arouses nationalist feelings,
a spokesman for the channel said Wednesday.
Kanalturk decided to show “Ararat” by Canadian director Atom Egoyan,
an ethnic Armenian, after a survey of viewers revealed that 72 percent
of the participants wanted to see the film, the spokesman said.
“We will show the movie with no cuts or censoring,” he added.
The film’s showing, at prime time on Thursday, will be followed by
a roundtable discussion by Turkish and Armenian intellectuals and
historians on the killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire,
the predecessor of Turkey.
Even though the Turkish government gave the go-ahead for the showing
of the film, which was released in 2002, an Istanbul company was
forced in 2004 to drop plans to screen the movie because of potential
protests that would have required police presence in theatres.
Turks have only recently begun to discuss the Armenian massacres
between 1915 and 1917, one of the most controversial episodes in
Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in
Turkey categorically rejects claims of genocide, arguing that 300,000
Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when the
Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided
with Russian troops invading the crumbling Ottoman Empire.
Egoyan’s film deals with the estranged members of a contemporary
Armenian family, who are faced with both Turkey’s denial of genocide
and their own individual plight.