‘Darbe’: desperately force-feeding political ideology on big screen

To call the Turkish film and”Darbeand” (The Coup), which opened in cinemas last Friday, a propaganda film might be an extreme claim, but letand’s be frank, deep in its heart its aim is to use the political thriller genre for promoting President Recep Tayyip Erdoganand’s term as prime minister and National Intelligence Organization (MiT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan.
Several months ago this filmand’s thematic cousin, the cinematically lousy purist propaganda film and”Kozaand” had the similar aims of manifesting the righteousness of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and the hypocrisy and betrayal of what they claim to be a and”parallel structure.and”
My true dilemma as a film critic is, how can you assess films such as and”Darbeand” or and”Koza,and” which so obviously point fingers without any kind of truth-seeking and try to provoke viewers into a juvenile form of hatred against a group of people while treating opposing groups as angelic deity figures who are above everything and cannot be questioned?
Perhaps we should just view and”Darbeand” as a 90-minute aertisement film with a colossal budget that tries so desperately to sell a product whose shelf life is about to expire and whose CEO and board of directors are desperately trying to protect their investment at all costs.
Honestly, if we look at the situation in pure business terms, every Machiavellian action and measure taken could make sense for the sake of maintaining market share. Though if we try to judge the narrative in political terms, all we might see is a group of very powerful people manipulating the agenda and playing with the country-folk like puppets on strings.
Looking into the film through the second perspective depresses me, but this seems to be the case for us hapless Turkish viewers, who went out to vote on June 7 in the general election, desperately hoping that parliamentary democracy was still functioning. And yet we still donand’t have a government from the elected MPs and we seem to be governed by a group of people who have immeasurable power and control who prefer an atmosphere of conflict and the possibility of war instead of an all-encompassing peace process.
The true irony here is that those who are currently pulling the strings were the ones who so desperately claimed that they were the harbingers of prosperity and peace, especially the peace process between the state and the Kurdish movement.
and”Darbeand” starts in a small military outpost in the plains of the Southeast. At this point in time Fidan is the protective and fatherly lieutenant of his troops. With the news that one of the soldiersand’ wives has given birth, the troops organize a mini-celebration with songs and dancing. All is fine until they are ambushed by a group of Kurdistan Workersand’ Party (PKK) terrorists that blow up the building. In the morning, after blood is spilt on both sides, Fidan learns that one of his soldiers ended up shooting down his very own brother who fought on the opposing side. Take that for blatant allegory! After the soldier takes his own life out of guilt, Fidan, reflecting his repressed Luke Skywalker, decides then and there that he will stop this senseless war between and”brothersand” and start the peace process between the Kurds and the Turks. Talk about an iron will — as if it only depended on him.
Reducing the Kurdish issue to such a simple element as a war between brothers is in itself very problematic, but letand’s put that aside for now. Several years pass and Fidan is now the undersecretary of MiT. He and Erdogan (represented in voice-over mostly) decide that itand’s high time to start the peace process. The undersecretary meets with PKK leader Abdullah andOcalan (also represented in voice-over) and so the peace process is about to begin. Politics is such a simple game as you can see!
But hereand’s the real problem: While the prime minister and undersecretary want peace because they are such well-intentioned righteous warriors (as represented in the film), the unnamed shady parallel organization represented by a shady rich guy hanging out on a yacht throughout the entire film wants none of it. They will do everything to bring down the government and stop the peace process. And hence a cat-and-mouse game begins between the two polar opposite parties (one purely good, the other purely evil, as represented here) to get their hands on a hard disc that stores information about Fidanand’s meet-up with andOcalan.
This filmand’s sole purpose is to present a black-and-white tableau of self-justification, self-congratulation and accusations for those who get in the way of and”milli iradeand” (English: and”national willand” — a term coined and adopted by the AKP for every decision and action that cannot be refuted because it is the will of the people).
I watched the film on a Saturday evening in a movie theater that was empty, save for me. I wasnand’t surprised. Who in their right mind would want to be force-fed political ideologies on a Saturday night at the movies while theyand’re already being constantly force-fed the same ideologies through mainstream media on weekdays?