In the most expensive Turkish movie ever made, American soldiers in Iraq crash a wedding and pump a little boy full of lead in front of his mother. They kill dozens of innocent people with random machine gun fire, shoot the groom in the head, and drag those left alive to Abu Ghraib prison where a Jewish doctor cuts out their organs, which he sells to rich people in New York, London and Tel Aviv. "Valley of the Wolves Iraq" set to open in Turkey on Friday feeds off the increasingly negative feelings many Turks harbor toward their longtime NATO allies: Americans.
The movie, which reportedly cost some $10 million (euro 8.3 million), is the latest in a new genre of popular culture that demonizes the United States. It comes on the heels of a novel called "Metal Storm" about a war between Turkey and the U.S., which has been a best seller for months.
One recent opinion poll revealed the depth of the hostility in Turkey toward Americans: 53 percent of Turks who responded to the 2005 Pew Global Attitudes survey associated Americans with the word "rude"; 70 percent with "violent"; 68 percent with "greedy"; and 57 percent with "immoral."
Advance tickets are already selling out across Turkey for the film, which has dialogue in Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish and English. In addition to Turkey, the film is set to be shown in more than a dozen other countries including the United States, Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Britain, Denmark, Russia, Egypt, Syria and Australia. The movie's American stars are Billy Zane, who plays a self-professed "peacekeeper sent by God," and Gary Busey as the Jewish-American doctor.
U.S. soldiers have become hate figures in Muslim countries around the world after the unpopular war in Iraq. But here in Turkey, a personal grudge fuels the resentment.
"Valley of the Wolves Iraq" opens with a true story: On July 4, 2003, in Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq, troops from the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade raided and ransacked a Turkish special forces office, threw hoods over the heads of 11 Turkish special forces officers, and held them in custody for more than two days.
The Americans said they had been looking for Iraqi insurgents and unwittingly rounded up the Turks because they were not in uniform. Still, the incident damaged Turkish-U.S. relations and hurt Turkish national pride. Turks traditionally idolize their soldiers; most enthusiastically send their sons off for mandatory military service.
In the movie, one of the Turkish special forces officers commits suicide to save his honor. His farewell letter reaches Polat Alemdar, an elite Turkish intelligence officer who travels to northern Iraq with a small group of men to avenge the humiliation.
There they find a rogue group of U.S. soldiers led by officer Sam William Marshall played by Zane. In the bloodfest that ensues, the small band of Turks bonds with the people of Iraq and eventually ends American atrocities there, killing Zane and his men in the final scene.
"The scenario is great," Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas told The Associated Press after the film was shown at a posh opening gala Tuesday night. "It was very successful. ... a soldier's honor must never be damaged." But Topbas and other Turks at the premiere weren't too concerned about how the movie would be perceived in the United States.
"There isn't going to be a war over this," said Nefise Karatay, a Turkish model lounging on a sofa after the premiere. "Everyone knows that Americans have a good side. That's not what this is about", reports the AP.
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