Emir Kusturica exits Antalya jury after protest

Pro-Bosnia groups accuse filmmaker of being a fascist

ANTALYA, Turkey -- A protest has prompted filmmaker Emir Kusturica to abandon his jury duty at the Antalya International Film Festival.

Apparently appalled by the filmmaker's decision not to take a stance against past Serbian atrocities during the country's bitter civil war, pro-Bosnia groups have accused him of being a fascist, with the minister of culture chiming in from the country's capital, Ankara, to condemn the festival for inviting Kusturica in the first place.

This comes after fellow director Semih Kaplanoglu pulled his film from Antalya in protest -- a move that many see not as political but economically motivated, since his prior participation in other festivals would have precluded him from competing for an award.

The situation can be seen as part of a new assertiveness of Turkey's ruling party AKP, after a referendum added more power to its pro-religion, less secular base. Antalya's mayor, Mustafa Akaydın, who is not a member of the current national power base, issued an apology on behalf of the people of Turkey for the hostilities.

Kusturica stated at an impromptu press conference that his decision to leave was mostly motivated by the fact that his presence -- with added security -- was threatening to disrupt the jury's work.