Turkish broadcasting watchdog investigates ‘cancellation’ of Ataturk TV series

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

According to the board's chairman, Turkey's broadcasting watchdog has initiated an investigation following claims that Disney+ removed a series about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.

Reports in local media suggested that Armenian Americans had pushed for the show's cancellation, arguing that Ataturk, as an officer in the Ottoman army, was linked to the mass killings of Armenians in 1915.

The Radio and Television Supreme Board decided to launch the investigation based on public information indicating that Disney+ opted not to air the series, as stated by board chairman Ebubekir Sahin on social media on Tuesday night.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a revered figure in Turkey, led the country's independence struggle after World War I and became its first president. Insulting his memory is considered a criminal offence in Turkey.

Disney+ had previously announced that the Ataturk series would be broadcasted "on the 100th anniversary" of the Turkish Republic, which falls on October 29.

On Monday, the Armenian National Committee of America thanked its supporters for their campaign against Disney+, claiming that the show had been cancelled due to its "glorification" of Ataturk.

In response to the situation, Disney-owned FOX released a statement on Wednesday, confirming that Ataturk would be presented as two films for TV and cinema on October 29 and December 22, respectively. However, the statement did not explain the original TV series format change or the decision not to air it on Disney+.

Omer Celik, the spokesman for Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), criticized Disney+ for allegedly giving in to pressure from the Armenian lobby and cancelling the series. Celik described this action as disrespectful to the values of the Republic of Turkey and its people in a social media post.

It is important to note that an estimated 1.5 million people were killed during the events of 1915, which is widely regarded as the first genocide of the 20th century.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024