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ISTANBUL — The premiere of Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin’s movie, “The Cut,” was held in Istanbul under heavy security. It hits Turkish movie theaters on Dec. 5.
The premiere of the movie was attended by a number of celebrities. Prominent Armenian photographer from Constantinople Ara Güler was also present at the event. Akin was accompanied by seven bodyguards.
As Akin’s first movie in English, “The Cut” centers on an Armenian father who travels from the 1915 Ottoman Empire to the U.S. in search of his daughters.
The 138-minute drama stars French actor of Algerian descent Tahar Rahim who is best known for his role in the 2009 award-winning French movie “A Prophet,” as well as French-Moroccan singer and actress Hindi Zahra, French-Armenian actor Simon Abjarian and Turkish actor Bartu Küçükçaglayan.
Along with Akin, Armenian-American screenwriter Mardik Martin, who has also worked with legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese, penned the screenplay of the drama.
“I know very well that Turks would not accept a film about an Armenian hero. This is why I used the genocide of Native Americans to develop empathy with them,” Akin has said about the film.
The film, which competed for the coveted Golden Lion award at the 71st Venice Film Festival, had an estimated budget of 16 million euros, according to the website imdb.com.
By Hambersom Aghbashian
Yunus Tuncel Raised in Turkey and was back in the US since 1981. He has a M.A. (Master of Arts) degree from The City University of New York (CUNY), Graduate School and University Center (thesis on Michel Foucault), and earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at the New School University, Graduate Faculty in May 2000, with a dissertation on the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. He has been teaching at The New School* since 1999. Along with foundational classes in philosophy, he teaches interdisciplinary classes on power, spectacle, crime and punishment. In addition to these topics, his research interests include agonism (the culture of competition), eroticism, the culture of the troubadours, and other areas of culture where art, literature, and philosophy intersect.(1)(2)
Yunus Tuncel, the author of “Agon in Nietzsche”, teaches philosophy at the New School University. Tuncel co-founded the Nietzsche Circle and serves on the Editorial Board of its electronic journal, The Agonist. He has published essays and books on various topics, including Towards a Genealogy of Spectacle (2011, Eye Corner Press). He lives in Jersey City with his wife and daughter.(3)
According to “aghet1915.wordpress.com”, Yunus Tuncel is one of the Turkish historians who have recognized the Armenian Genocide. (4)
An Anti- Armenian Genocide recognition website criticized Yunus Tuncel as one of the most prominent turncoats who ”have one thing in common among themselves. They are all traitors, and betrayers of anything and everything sacred for Turkey and Turks. Unfortunately, they were all born in the bosom of the Turkish Republic. Supposedly, they went to the same type of Turkish schools, and studied under the same system of education which always tried to make its young citizens learn to love their country.” (5).
Yunus Tuncel was criticized because of his recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Talia Jebejian wrote on April 25, 2001, “Approximately 140 people, primarily of Armenian and Turkish descent, gathered to participate in A Psycho-spiritual and Educational Dialogue Between People of Armenian and Turkish Descent, sponsored by the Armenian American Society for Studies on Stress and Genocide (AASSSG) and co-sponsored by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) NY Chapter, The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) and Fordham University. This open dialogue was held in commemoration of the 86th Anniversary of the Ottoman Turkish Genocide of the Armenians and was met with overwhelming success. Rational and intellectual dialogue was presented and exchanged between the panelists and audience members, resulting in a positive step toward reconciliation between Turkish citizens and Armenians.” She added a list of The facilitators of the program and The panelists participating in it. Yunus Tuncel, Ph.D. in Philosophy, New York City was mentioned as one of the participants.(6)
According to “www.un.org/dpi/ngosection/annualconfs/…/workshops.pd.”, during the same Dialogue sessions, and a workshop titled “Transforming Terror into Healing: The Role of Psycho-spiritual and Educational Dialogue“, researcher Anie Kalayjian and Yunus Tuncel related their experience in organizing a similar group of descendents of the Ottoman Turkish Genocide in Armenia. Their group brought together professionals from both sides in order to start a dialogue and foster understanding in an open community meeting. Dr. Tuncel examined the role of Turkish nationalism as a means of creating and sustaining differences among peoples. Dr. Kalayjian described her own process of forgiveness and transcendence after receiving a death threat by Turkish authorities. The presenters concluded that it was very challenging to pursue reconciliation while Turkish authorities still negated the genocide of the Armenians after 87 years.(7)
* The New School is a university in New York City, United States. From its founding in 1919 by progressive NY educators, and for most of its history, the university was known as the The New School for Social Research. Between 1997 and 2005 it was known as New School University. The university and each of its colleges were renamed in 2005. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_School)
Groups To Bring Together Turks and Armenians from Around the World
ISTANBUL — Turkish and Armenian-American organizations are working together to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2015 and to encourage Armenians from around the world to attend, DurDe and Project 2015 said today. The concerted campaign by Ottoman leaders a century ago resulted in the deaths and exile of the vast majority of their Armenian citizens.
While Turkish groups have organized memorial events in Istanbul for the past several years, DurDe and Project 2015, a US-based organization, are working to ensure that a large contingent of Armenians come to Turkey for the historic centennial commemoration.
“We encourage and welcome Armenians from around the globe to assemble with citizens of Turkey in Istanbul to participate in these memorial events,” said Levent Sensever of DurDe. “As Turks, we want to express our solidarity with Armenians as we pay our respects to the victims and survivors of this terrible crime, and press our government to recognize the genocide.”
The events in Istanbul will include a public assembly in Taksim on the evening of April 24. It will also include a memorial service at Sisli Armenian Apostolic Cemetery (Sisli Ermeni Gregoryen Mezarligi), where Sevag Sahin Balikçi is buried; Balikçi was an Armenian soldier serving in the Turkish military and murdered by a Turkish soldier on April 24, 2011. Information about the planned events can be found at www.armenianproject2015.org.
“As Armenians, we are going to Istanbul to memorialize the brutal massacre of our family members, and to remind the world that 100 years later, we are still seeking justice and accountability from the Turkish government,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, board member of Project 2015. “For many of us, this is a first return to the lands of our ancestors, who lived here for thousands of years before their murders and expulsions 100 years ago.”
Discussion of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey remains a highly sensitive subject in Turkey and subject to criminal sanctions. The Turkish government has prosecuted journalists, writers and academics for making reference to the Armenian Genocide. However, past commemorations of the Armenian Genocide in Istanbul have taken place without incident, and with the benefit of municipal police protection.
In 2014, then-Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan expressed his condolences to the grandchildren of “Armenians who lost their lives in the context of the early 20th century” but failed to acknowledge the role of the Ottoman government in systematically causing these losses. The Turkish government has refused to recognize the massacres of the Armenians as genocide.
“As Turks, we are striving to broaden the space to discuss the events leading to the near total destruction of one of the region’s oldest indigenous communities,” Sensever said. “We want to demonstrate to the world that while the Turkish government may not be ready to come to terms with this country’s past, we as citizens of Turkey are ready.”
DurDe is one of Turkey’s leading civil and human rights organizations, working to combat racism, nationalism and hate crimes. It is an activist network that in recent years has played an important role in organizing commemorations for the Armenian Genocide in Istanbul. Project 2015 is a US-based non-profit organization comprised of Armenians, Turks and Americans to encourage wide participation in the commemoration events in Istanbul.
“Commemorating the Armenian Genocide in the place where the crimes took place will be a deeply meaningful experience,” said Nancy Kricorian, Project 2015 board member. “Our presence in Istanbul will be a form of resistance to erasure and denial.”