A new Turkish movie has created a storm in the American media, even before it hits the big screen, with banner headlines claiming the film demonises US soldiers.
Kurtlar Vadisi: Irak (Valley of the Wolves: Iraq), premiers on Friday, February 3, in cinemas across Turkey. Most sessions are already booked out, with public expectations built on the back of a popular television series Kurt Vadesi, featuring many of the same characters that appear in the film, and on the much hyped anti-American sentiment portrayed in the movie.
In an ironic twist likely to appeal to a Turkish audience, US solders are captured by Turks in Iraq and have bags put over their heads as they are led away. The scene mirrors in reverse an actual event some two years ago in Iraq, where US forces abducted Turkish troops in the north of the country, blindfolding them with sacks before taking them away for interrogation. The incident caused a storm of protest in Turkey and fanned anti-US sentiments.
On the day the film is due to premier, US papers have been running stories with headlines such as "New Turkish genre paints US as the enemy", "Turkish blockbuster depicts US forces as 'wolves'", and "In Turkish movie, Americans kill innocents".
Web sites in the US have gone as far as to accuse the two American actors who appear in Valley of the Wolves, Gary Busey and Billy Zane, of being traitors for being involved in a movie that depicts their countrymen in a poor light.
However, other contributors to web sites have pointed out that Hollywood has for a generation churned out movies that have depicted Muslims as terrorists, and have questioned whether, after 20 years of having Muslims as the bad guys, the US can stomach some of its own medicine.