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Kurdish filmmaker faces up to 15 years in jail

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Kurdish filmmaker faces up to 15 years in jail

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:23 am

Kurdish filmmaker faces
up to 15 years in jail


Image

Prominent Kurdish director, filmmaker and photographer Kazim Oz will be tried in Turkey on Tuesday, on terror-related charges dating back to 2010. If found guilty, he could face a seven to fifteen year jail sentence

Oz, 46, detailed the charges for which he will be tried at a court in Tunceli (Dersim) province in a tweet on Wednesday.

Charges include “being a member of a terrorist organization” for attending an event hosted by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) – a predecessor of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) – and participating in a protest against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in Istanbul’s Gezi Park protests in 2013.

The filmmaker was arrested in November 2018 as part of the case, but was conditionally released two days later.

“The ‘witch hunt’ launched by the government against anyone who opposes it continues to grow to include artists,” he said in the tweet, adding that the move is “punishment” for the films he has made over the last 20 years.

Turkey bans films or any other productions that it deems “propaganda” for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) - an armed group struggles for cultural and political rights of Kurds in Kurdish-majority areas in Turkey, and designated a terrorist organization by Ankara.

Oz spoke to Rudaw in March about the making of Zer, a fiction film in which a Turkish-American protagonist traces his true ethnic heritage to Kurdistan and shines light on the Turkish government’s systematic murder of an estimated 40,000 – 70,000 Alevi Kurds.

Asked about the difficulties encountered in the making of the film, Oz said Turkish authorities actively suppressed its production.

“By the time Zer was in post-production, political tension was running very, very high. Not only did the Ministry of Culture withdraw its support for Zer, they actively began trying to suppress the film. As far as I know, Zer is the only film in Turkish history that was first supported and then suppressed in this manner,” he explained to Rudaw.

His work has been screened and awarded in Europe and the United States.

He Bu Tune Bu (Once Upon A Time), a film about Kurdish labor migration in Turkey, was screened at Hamburg 3001 Kino in Germany on Saturday.

“Anything you do about the Kurdish issue, anything with the word ‘Kurd’ in it gets a backlash from the government, especially recently,” he said.

Films broaching controversial topics beyond the Kurdish issue have also been known to face governmental pressure.

Oz expressed defiance as he awaits Tuesday’s trial, vowing to continue his craft.

“I’d like to make cinema in a free and democratic country. But even though we’re not in a country like that, I will continue to make movies under any circumstances.”

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeas ... y/29092019
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Kurdish filmmaker faces up to 15 years in jail

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