Turkey airs Egoyan pic on genocide

'Ararat' debuts on private net

A private Turkish TV station has aired Atom Egoyan’s “Ararat,” a drama about the Armenian genocide, for the first time.

Netcaster Kanalturk broadcast the pic without cuts, even though the subject is largely taboo in the country.

The Turkish government refuses to officially acknowledge the massacre, in which up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed in Turkey from 1915-17.

Airing took place only after execs at Kanalturk polled auds and found that 72% wanted to see the film.

The film was followed by a round-table discussion with notable Turkish and Armenian historians.

A rep for Egoyan told Daily Variety the director was “pleased” the film had finally been shown in Turkey after a troubled journey to local auds.

The government initially gave the go-ahead for the film to be screened theatrically in 2004, despite labeling it “ridiculous propaganda,” but the distributor was forced to drop its release after receiving threats from various Turkish nationalist groups.

The government’s decision not to block the broadcast of “Ararat” would indicate a more open policy toward the issue of the genocide. Earlier this year Orhan Pamuk, Turkey’s most celebrated writer, faced imprisonment after referring to the genocide in an interview with a Swiss newspaper, although the charges of “insulting Turkishness” were eventually dropped after an international outcry.

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