ARARAT – A Propoganda Film of Imagination and

Several Turkish newspapers reported today that one of the 373 films to be shown at the 57th Berlin Film Festival on February 14 is ”Tarlakusu Ciftligi – Lark Farm” (also dubbed as ”The Massacre of Allodole”) , based on a novel by Italian author Ms Antonia Arslan. The book and the movie is about the ”Re-location of Armenians in 1915. The reason given for the selection of Berlin for the premier is stated to be the presence of large population of Turks living in Berlin.

Another movie on the same subject, ”Ararat”, was shown in US theaters beginning in 2003, but not in Turkey despite several attempts. For those who have not seen the movie, a review written back in October 2003 is given below.

ARARAT – A Propoganda Film of Imagination and Distorted History based on a book by Dr. Clarence Ussher,”An American Physician in Turkey”

An article in Hurriyet newspaper on October 2, 2003 states that Atom Egoyan, the Canadian- Armenian producer and the director of the movie ‘’Ararat’’, will not make similiar movies anymore. Egoyan further states in the same article that Ararat should not be viewed as a historical movie and continues; ‘’the movie reflects on how the history of those years is viewed in the minds of the people today’’. And yet, during the 27th Toronto International Film Festival last week, the same Egoyan has stated that the alleged Armenian genocide is ‘’irrefutable’’. What nonsense, in front of people who probably knows very little about the Armenian tragedy which is their own doing. Based on what irrefutable facts? Only lies, imaginations and distorted facts. The history has been distorted by Egoyan, as many writers and organizations have indicated since its release and has been a flop..

Atom Egoyan has also indicated his desire to come to Turkey and visit the town of his grandparents, Develi, Kayseri. I think Egoyan should visit his ancestoral home town near Kayseri, not too far from Germir where Elia Kazan’s parents had lived. Omer Erbil from Istanbul reports that Belge Film has already imported the film and would like to show it uncut.. I think everyone interested in the ongoing propoganda against Turkey should see the movie and do something about it. It should be an experience. Egoyan should attend the gala showing of his film and confess to Turks and tell the whole world that he made a one-sided propoganda movie based on distorted historical facts and ‘’poetic license’’, and apologize.

I saw the movie ARARAT on December 26, 2002 in New York city at a small theater at Angelika Film center. Only 24 viewers were present with over 100 seats empty. As I left the theater, I asked one of the viewers how she liked the movie. She shrugged her shoulders and said: ‘’It is emotional. I did not know about some of the scenes. I guess it must have happened’’. She had actually believed what was shown in the movie.. ‘’Do you know anything about the Armenian tragedy?’’ I asked her, who identified herself as Evelyn. ‘’Yes I do’’, she said, ‘’I know Edward Tajci of the Federation of Turkish American Associations in New York’’. Edward Tacji has written many articles refuting the allegations for years, but evidently has not been able to convince Evelyn. ‘’It is a horrible movie and Atom had no right to twist the truth and plant the seeds of hatred against the Turks’’ I told her. ‘’Why don’t you make a movie that tells the truth’’ she said. She certainly had a point.

The movie is suppose to be a true story based on Clarence Ussher’s book, an American missionary, written in Boston in 1917. Based on what I have read and a friend from California writes, the book was produced as a propaganda material depicting only the Armenian suffering, completely ignoring the Armenian uprisings and the death of Turks and Moslems. Ussher’s book does not contain the horrifying scenes depicted in the film and ascribed to Ussher’s book. It does contain, however, a photograph of Armenians armed with rifles in a military precision trench behind a wall with holes in it.

Atom Egoyan wrote, directed and produced the film as an Armenian, not as a Canadian, to advance the propaganda in Ussher’s book, with only one purpose: to create hatred against the Turks. As Demir Delen wrote last year, the film creates the image that Armenians were loyal and law-abiding citizens when in one scene the Armenians say that “they were the citizens of the empire and that the Turks should protect them rather than having war with them”. The unsuspecting viewer thinks that the Turks were fighting the Armenians, not the Russians. There is no mention of the Russians anywhere in the film and obviously no mention of the fact that Armenians were assisting the enemy, acting in high treason against the empire they were the citizens of.

Atom would like his audience to believe in a mythical genocide. Turks and Armenians lived side by side for over a thousand years, and the conflict appeared when the Armenians rebelled against their own government and tried to establish a state in areas of Anatolia where they were never a majority. As a result, the Armenian rebels killed hundreds of thousands of Turks in the eastern region while Armenians in the West lived a comfortable life. And Turks killed Armenians that were killing them and relocated many to other parts of the Ottoman Empire which resulted in more deaths. But, there was no genocide.

could have served humanity by telling the truth, not half-truths and lies, by also showing the atrocities committed by the Armenian rebels, especially those who started the rebellion in Van and killed tens of thousands of innocent people with the support of the Russians. Hirant Dink, the publisher of Agos newspaper in Istanbul characterized the movie as very detrimental to Turkish-Armenian relations, like everyone else in Turkey.

Turks never hated Armenians, except the terrorists, and still do not hate Armenians or anyone else for that matter. Turkish education based on Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s principles does not teach hatred of any ethnic or religious groups, contrary to what some Armenians and Greeks do. I believe Atom Egoyan should come to Turkey and see it for himself, like other famous Anatolians, such as Elia Kazan, and may be he should read one of William Saroyan’s story, ‘’Antranik of Armenia’’ before his journey.

Yuksel Oktay
5 October 2003
Istanbul

PS. Anyone interested in the subject can read Sedat Laciner’s article, ‘’Ararat: Art as a tool in Propoganda’’ and Kivanc Galip Over’s article, ‘’Holocaust – Armenian claims and facts’’, both published in the Turkish Daily News. (www.turkishdailynews.com

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