Turkey's 007 to Take on Figures Behind Coup Attempt

Credit: Pana Film
'Valley of the Wolves'

With nationalistic sentiment running high, 'Valley of the Wolves: Coup,' the latest installment of the controversial Turkish action franchise, has been announced.

He's challenged the Israeli Defense Force — and won — and even successfully battled a murderous U.S. military commander gone rogue in Iraq. But special agent Polat Alemdar's next mission looks likely to be closer to home.

The perpetually stone-faced action hero, considered Turkey's answer to James Bond and played by Necati Sasmaz, is to take on the figures alleged to be behind the recent failed Turkish coup attempt in the next installment of the widely popular Valley of the Wolves action franchise.

“In response to intense public demand to make a film or television series about the coup bid, our firm has taken the decision to make the film Valley of the Wolves: Coup, production company Pana Film revealed on Twitter this week.

Nationalistic sentiment has reached a fever pitch in Turkey since a faction of the armed forces attempted to seize control of state institutions July 15. And where nationalist sentiment goes, Valley of the Wolves often follows.

According to the pro-government newspaper Aksam, relations between Turkey and the U.S. will have a central role in the upcoming film.

With president Recep Tayyip Erdogan pointing the finger of blame at former ally Fethullah Gulen, now living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, anti-U.S. rhetoric is at an all-time high. Many state-owned news outlets have openly accused the U.S. of being involved in an attempt to assassinate Erdogan.

How Gulen or the U.S. are portrayed in Valley of the Wolves: Coup is yet to be seen, but it's unlikely to be pretty.

Alemdar's first big-screen outing (Valley of the Wolves began life as a TV show in 2003), 2006's Valley of the Wolves: Iraq, proved to be a somewhat controversial cinematic debut, not least for scenes involving U.S. troops massacring Iraqi civilians at a wedding, shooting unarmed captives in the back of a truck and torturing prisoners in Abu Ghraib.

All three scenes were thought to be references to real-life incidents that occurred in Iraq (the Abu Ghraib scene involved a female guard making a human pyramid, much like that by disgraced U.S. soldier Lynndie England).

But perhaps the most shocking element of Valley of the Wolves: Iraq was a Jewish-American U.S. army doctor, played by none other than Gary Busey, who spends his time removing organs from prisoners that he boxes up in ice and sells to the U.S. and Israel.

The film — which was the most expensive made in Turkey at the time with a budget of $14 million — was widely condemned for its racist and anti-Semitic sentiment, especially in Germany, where it had a theatrical release thanks to its large Turkish community. Cinema giant CinemaxX eventually pulled it.

But in Turkey itself, Valley of the Wolves: Iraq earned more than $25 million, one of the biggest box-office performances of the year, and was hailed by politicians — the chairman of the Turkish parliament described it as "an extraordinary film that will go into history."

Five years later came Valley of the Wolves: Palestine, following hot on the heels of the deadly 2010 raid by Israeli naval forces on a flotilla from Turkey bound for Gaza, in which nine activists were killed. The film saw Alemdar head to the West Bank to track down and take out Mose Ben Eliezer, the fictional commander responsible for the raid (who ends up sporting a particularly Bond villain-style eye patch). Naturally, Alemdar emerges bloodied, but victorious.

While not as controversial as Iraq, Valley of the Wolves: Palestine sparked accusations of anti-Semitism. It was eventually released in Germany, but not on its original launch date of Jan. 27, 2011 (International Holocaust Remembrance Day).

Although a release date for Valley of the Wolves: Coup is yet to be announced, it won't be the first Turkish film featuring a villainized Gulen, or indeed a coup attempt.

That would be 2015's conspiracy thriller Code Name: K.O.Z., currently IMDB's worst-rated film of all time.

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