Flotilla Ship Is the Setting for New Anti-Israel Movie

October 4, 2010 - 4:59 AM

Gaza flotilla ship setting sail from Turkey

The Turkish ship Mavi Marmara before it set sail for the Gaza Strip, intending to break the Israeli blockade. (Photo: IHH)

Ankara, Turkey (AP) - A Turkish protest ship that was the scene of bloodshed during Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla is now the setting of an anti-Israeli film.

Part of a movie is being filmed on board the Mavi Marmara, where Israeli troops clashed in May with pro-Palestinian activists trying to breach the blockade in Gaza, said Salih Bilici, a spokesman for the Turkish Islamic charity that sponsored the flotilla, told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The movie "Valley of the Wolves -- Palestine" is a spinoff from the controversial but highly popular TV drama series "Valley of the Wolves," which tells the story of a nationalist undercover agent assigned to kill state enemies. The series sparked a diplomatic row between Turkey and Israel this year after one episode showed Israeli security forces kidnapping children and shooting old men.

This time, the hero Polat Alemdar and his team are given the task of hunting down the raid's military commander and planner, a fictional character called Mose Ben Eliezer, according to the film's website.

"Mose destroys villages, kills children and throws everyone who helps Polat into prison," it says.

In Israel, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor declined comment because they had not seen the film. "Israel hasn't seen the show and will not comment on something we have no direct knowledge of," Palmor said.

No one was available at the Pana production company Sunday.

In January, Ayalon summoned the Turkish ambassador to complain about "Valley of the Wolves," forcing the envoy to sit on a low sofa. Turkey was outraged and demanded an apology.

Bilici said the crew was currently filming an enactment of the raid aboard the Mavi Marmara. It shows activists performing early morning prayers when an Israeli helicopter approaches and soldiers rappel on board and shoot at them, Bilici said.

The movie's release is scheduled for January 28.

The Mavi Marmara and two other Turkish ships were part of a flotilla sailing toward Gaza to protest Israel's blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory. Israel insisted its troops acted in self-defense after being attacked by activists on board.

Last week, a report by three U.N.-appointed human rights experts found that Israeli forces violated international law when they raided the flotilla. Israel responded saying the Human Rights Council, which commissioned the report, had a "biased, politicized and extremist approach."

The "Valley of the Wolves" films and TV series are highly popular in Turkey but are also severely criticized for stoking nationalism and glorifying violence.

In the early years of the TV series, upset fans held a minute of silence in the memory of one of the heroes who was killed off. They had obituaries printed in a newspaper expressing their grief, while a gang of angry youths beat up the actor who played his killer.