>23 February 2006 (Source : StudioBriefing)
U.S. officials are keeping a low profile regarding the Turkish movie
The Valley of the Wolves: Iraq aka Kurtlar Vadisi Irak , even as the film continues to attract huge audiences in Turkey and Germany.
Today’s (Thursday) European edition of the U.S. Army newspaper Stars and Stripes quoted Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as saying, “It is a fictitious movie. … It clearly does not have any basis in fact, and there is no reason for us to comment on fiction.” In fact, however, the movie is based on an incident that occurred on July 4, 2003 when U.S. soldiers arrested 11 Turkish officers, pulled bags over their heads, and detained them for questioning. (The action was never explained; the officers were later released.) Other characters in the film, however, are clearly fictional, including a murderous U.S. officer played by Billy Zane, and a Jewish doctor, played by Gary Busey, who harvests the organs of Iraqi prisoners, which he sells to wealthy clients in Israel and the West. In the conservative National Review, writer Jim Geraghty commented, “Pardon my French, but Billy, Gary… you’re whores. You will contribute to the vilest propaganda for a pile of cash.” The BBC’s Middle East expert, Cengiz Candar, remarked, “This film poisons the climate in a way that it enhances jingoistic nationalism among Turks.” But the English-language Turkish publication Dogan Daily News said on its website today, “However hostile the film may be, it is more likely to be the product of anti-American feelings in Turkey than the cause of it. A study shows that favorable views of America declined from 52 percent of Turks in 2000 to 15 percent in 2003.” And Bulent Arinc, president of the Turkish National Assembly, praised it in an interview with the Anatolia news agency. “It is an extraordinary film that will go down in history,” he said.
- In one sequence, American soldiers raid an Iraqi wedding and massacre a number of civilians, which might allude to allegations of a wedding party massacre in Mukaradeeb on May 19, 2004.
- U.S. soldiers torture detainees in Abu Ghraib prison, which includes a female soldier making a human pyramid, referring to the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse. It is the first depiction of actions by American soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison ever to appear on film.
- While captives are transported on a long journey in a container on a truck, one guard says to the other: “They might suffocate in the container because there is no fresh air supply”. The truck stops, the American guard gets off the truck and fires hundreds of bullet-holes into the container with an automatic weapon “in order to make holes for the air to get in”, and as a result many detainees are injured or get killed. A similar event is reported to have occurred in Afghanistan after the battle for Mazar-i-Sharif on November 9, 2001, with Taliban soldiers in the container and soldiers of the Afghan Northern Alliance as their guardians, as described in the documentary film Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death by Irish filmmaker Jamie Doran. This event is also reenacted in the film The Road to Guantanamo.
- The film features a Jewish American U.S. Army doctor (Gary Busey) who, as an inhuman figure common in urban legends and anti-Semitic propaganda, removes organs from injured civilian prisoners to sell to rich people in New York, London and Tel-Aviv for transplantation.
- The U.S. Army recommended that Army personnel overseas not approach cinemas in which the movie is played.
Valley of the Wolves: Iraq (Turkish: Kurtlar Vadisi: Irak) is a 2006 Turkish action film directed by Serdar Akar and starring Necati Şaşmaz, Billy Zane and Ghassan Massoud. The story concerns a Turkish commando team which goes to Iraq to track down the US military commander responsible for the Hood event.
The film is set during the occupation of Iraq and includes references to other real events such as the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the container shipping incident where prisoners were suffocated and shot. The film, which went on nationwide general release across Turkey on February 3, 2006, was the highest-grossing Turkish films of 2006 and is one of the most expensive Turkish films ever made.
It is part of the Valley of the Wolves media franchise, based on the Turkish television series of the same name, and was followed by Valley of the Wolves: Gladio (2008) and Valley of the Wolves: Palestine (2010).
Filmed with a budget of $14 million, this was the most expensive Turkish film ever made at the time of its release before being surpassed by A.R.O.G..The film grossed $27.9 million at the box office — $25.1 million in Turkey and $2.8 million in Europe.
Opinions of the film greatly varied. While the Wall Street Journal characterized it as “a cross between ‘American Psycho‘ in uniform and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion“,Turkey’s parliamentary speaker Bulent Arinc described it as “absolutely magnificent”.