turkey-film

In 2006, a woman stands next to a billboard featuring the Turkish movie Valley of the Wolves Iraq. Its sequel, also starring Necati Sasmaz, features the hero avenging deaths from an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in May 2010. ((Murad Sezer/Associated Press))

The Turkish company Pana Film has created an action thriller based on the Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla that resulted in the deaths of nine activists in May.

The film, with its anti-Israeli sentiments, seems set to inflame tensions between Turkey and Israel, which have been on poor terms since the raid.

The flotilla was trying to break a blockade that Israeli imposed in 2007 to block shipments to Gaza. Israeli forces boarded the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on May 31, killing eight Turks and a Turkish-American. Most of the activists on board the vessel were Turkish.

The raid drew a furious international reaction and prompted Israel to ease the blockade.

The film, The Valley of the Wolves — Palestine, is a spinoff from an action TV series that features a Rambo-like superhero and his team of undercover agents.

The hero, Polat Alemdar, played by Necati Sasmaz, heads to Israel to hunt down the Israeli authorities responsible for the raid and avenge the nine deaths on the flotilla.

A trailer showing now in Turkish cinemas begins with an Israeli commander ordering his men to board the flotilla and Israeli soldiers shooting civilian activists armed only with crude weapons.

The film is heavy on the action with exploding cars and the hero at one point confronting an Israeli commander, saying, "I don't know what part of this land is promised to you, but I promise you six feet under."

Part of the movie, directed by Zubeyr Sasmaz, was filmed on the Mavi Marmara. The original script called for an action thriller set in the Palestinian territories, but the flotilla raid gave a new focus and thrust to the story, filmmakers told Turkish media.

Erdal Besikcioglu, a Turkish stage actor who plays the Israeli villain in the film, has been quoted as saying he accepted the role because he believes the raid should not be forgotten.

"In this film, we are asking a sufficient number of questions and requestioning the raid," he told Sabah newspaper. "We should not forget it."

Iraq film a hit

The original 2001 TV series created by Osnan Sinav, Valley of the Wolves, mainly involved the hero tackling Turkish criminals. It was spun out into an enormously successful 2006 movie Valley of the Wolves: Iraq, set during the invasion of Iraq.

That film, directed by Serdar Akar, was criticized for its anti-Semitic and anti-American stance.

Another Turkish TV series, Separation, which appeared in 2009, showed Israeli security forces kidnapping children and shooting old men and children as well as destroying Palestinian property.

Separation caused a diplomatic row between Turkey and Israel in 2009. There are fears the film Valley of the Wolves — Palestine could do the same.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor declined to comment Monday about the trailer or the film.

Turkey is demanding an apology and compensation over the raid and the loss of nine lives. It has been openly critical of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians.

The film is scheduled to be released Jan. 28 in Turkey.

With files from The Associated Press