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Turkish filmmaker faces prison over Atatürk biopic

18 December 2009 [11:47] - TODAY.AZ
Journalist and filmmaker Can Dündar faces a possible seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence over his biopic “Mustafa,” which depicts the life of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.
The Sincan 2nd High Criminal Court has ruled that a criminal complaint by Ali Berham Şahbudak, chairman of the Platform for Democratic Mass Organizations and Unions, was valid, paving the way for a legal case to be filed against the famous journalist. If a case is filed against Dündar, he could be sentenced to between one-and-a-half years and seven-and-a-half years in prison.

A criminal complaint was filed against Dündar by Şahbudak shortly after “Mustafa” hit theaters. The film recounts the lesser-known sides of Atatürk. There was heated debate in all segments of society over whether it depicted Atatürk’s character and private life accurately.

Şahbudak claimed in his complaint that the biopic eroded Atatürk’s image of respectability and was aimed at dividing Turkey. The Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation into “Mustafa” and ruled in May that it lacked grounds for legal action. Şahbudak, however, appealed the ruling at the Sincan 2nd High Criminal Court. The court overruled the decision of the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office on the complaint and said the complaint was valid.

Dündar also faces a fine of up to TL 100,000 for violating the law on “preventing damage from tobacco products and their control.” “Mustafa” depicts Atatürk as a heavy smoker and drinker.

/Todays Zaman/

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