The Blame Game
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Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK) criticized a reported decision by the Walt Disney Company not to broadcast a documentary series about modern Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, on its Disney+ streaming platform, Al Jazeera reported.
The controversy began after a series of Turkish and Armenian reports suggested that the streaming service had pulled the plug on the series following lobbying efforts by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Disney+ had previously announced that the documentary would be released on Oct. 29 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, according to the Washington Post.
In June, ANCA called for its cancelation, saying that it “glorifies a Turkish dictator and genocide killer.”
Following the reports, AK party officials slammed Disney+ for succumbing to pressure from the Armenian lobby and accused the latter of hindering Turkey–Armenia relations. At the same time, Turkey’s television watchdog has launched a probe into the matter.
In May 1915, Turkey initiated a mass deportation of Armenians from eastern Turkey. Armenia says around 1.5 million people died in massacres or because of starvation and exhaustion.
While Turkey acknowledges the killings, it has rejected the “genocide” label.
Mustafa Kemal – later known as Atatürk – was a commander during World War I and later went on to establish the Republic of Turkey in 1923 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
Walt Disney Turkey responded by announcing a special version of the Atatürk documentary on FOX TV in Turkey and later in theaters, but it remains unclear if it will still be available on Disney+.