Two weeks ago, the 34th Istanbul Film Festival kicked off. It is the oldest and biggest international film event in Turkey aiming to promote Turkish cinema and it’s bright stars. It won’t be finished until this Sunday, but the initial plan for a closing ceremony has been cancelled due to boycotts from the Turkish creative community.
Last week, the Turkish Ministry of Culture pulled a film from the festival programme, essentially censoring it. The film in question was called ‘Bakur’, focusing on the daily life of Kurdish fighters from the workers’ party PKK. The film is made by production company, Surela, who have run into trouble with the ministry before.
This interference has caused outrage among the creative community of Turkey: approximately 100 film producers have written an open letter to the festival condemning the art, and 24 directors have withdrawn their films from the festival completely. The feeling is that the government has no right to interfere with art.