An international film festival in Turkey has been canceled following controversy over a documentary about the purges that followed the failed 2016 coup, authorities said Friday.
“I must regretfully inform all movie fans that we have canceled our festival which was to take place between October 7-14 due to external developments,” said the mayor of Antalya, in the south of the country, in charge of the festival. organization of the Altin Portakal festival (“Golden Orange” in Turkish), in a video shared on the social network X (formerly Twitter).
At the heart of the controversy is the documentary film Le Décret which tells the story of a doctor and a teacher, both purged in the wave of repression that followed the 2016 coup attempt against the president Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Also read: Türkiye commemorates the failure of the 2016 coup
First selected, the film was then excluded last week from the competition, causing outcry from many filmmakers who denounced “censorship”. “We reject the approach which seeks incriminating elements in a film and the normalization of censorship,” declared all the members of the festival juries, threatening to withdraw if the film was not readmitted, in a communicated.
The festival then initially reversed course, reinstating the film in the competition. But he excluded it again following the denunciation of the film by the Ministry of Culture, which also withdrew its support from the festival, of "propaganda" of the preacher Fethullah Gülen whom Ankara accuses of having fomented the attempted coup d'état in 2016. “Accusations of praising Feto (an acronym used by Ankara to designate the Gülenist movement) or of terrorism are senseless,” reacted the film's director Nejla Demirci.
Organized since 1964, the Golden Orange is one of the largest film festivals in Turkey, considered the local equivalent of the Cannes festival. The failed putsch of July 15, 2016 was followed by purges of unprecedented scale in Turkey against alleged supporters of the Gülen movement, but also against Kurdish opponents, soldiers, intellectuals and journalists.