Coming soon to a theater near you (assuming you live in Turkey): Valley of the Wolves: Palestine, an action thriller about a Turkish spy sent to kill the Israeli commander who ordered the boarding of the Mavi Marmara, the boat on which nine armed pro-Palestinian activists were killed last Memorial Day weekend. It’s actually merely the latest installment in the Valley of the Wolves franchise, which has included a 24-like TV show as well as the 2006 blockbuster Valley of the Wolves: Iraq, at the time the most expensive Turkish movie ever made. It features a U.S. Special Forces leader, played by Billy Zane, who calls himself a “peacekeeper of God”; a fictional U.S. military massacre of Iraqi civilians; and a Jewish-American doctor who does a Mengele impersonation, shipping human hearts to London and Tel Aviv. (Did I mention this doctor is played by Gary Busey?!?!?!)
Tellingly, the one Turkish person whom the Times quotes as being against the franchise is a film critic: “It’s sacrificing cinema to politics,” complains Mehmet Acar. The debate over the role politics should (and shouldn’t) play in art is a fascinating one, but most of the worthwhile participants were Jews, so I doubt it will be of much interest. Anyway, if this new film (scheduled for an October release) is anything like the Iraq one, expect yet another thorn in the side of the tattered Israeli-Turkish relationship.