March 28
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The Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica, who had been invited to Altın Portakal (Golden Orange) International Film Festival as a jury member, was enraged by the statements addressed to him by Turkish art critics and politicians. He has left Turkey.

Before leaving, the filmmaker held a press conference and severely criticized Turkush Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay, who stated he would not take part in the festival because of the Serbian filmmaker. Kusturica said he considers the Turkish minister “an enemy” because of his behavior.

Kusturica also noted that just a few months ago he and his No Smoking Orchestra visited Bursa for a live performance, where they were greeted warmly and enthusiastically by the city’s officials. So what has happened since, that made the Minister refuse to attend the festival because of Kusturica, asked the filmmaker.

The Serbian producer also sharply responded to the well-known Turkish film producer Semih Kaplanoğlu, who announced on Thursday that he had withdrawn his film from the festival, as Kusturica was on the jury for the international competition. If Mr. Kaplanoğlu is so sensitive about genocides, why he does not speak of the Armenian Genocide during World War I. Thus he would have added crimes against humanity to his sensitivity. The Serbian filmmaker stated he has always voiced his attitude to the crimes against humanity committed in Bosnia. The Serbians were against the crimes as well, and many Serbians were murdered in Bosnia.

The Antalya Foundation for Culture and Art (AKSAV), an Antalya Metropolitan Municipality-affiliated body, which has been organizing the Altın Portakal for the past two years, had announced Kusturica’s taking part in the festival in late July. However, his presence in the festival sparked ire during the past week, with several Bosnian cultural associations based in Turkey and a number of Bosnian women’s associations voicing criticism of AKSAV for inviting the filmmaker who once made comments supportive of war criminals responsible for the Srebrenica massacre in 1995 during the Bosnian war, to Antalya, Today’s Zaman reports.

In protest at Kusturica’s participation in the festival, Semih Kaplanoğlu, the director of the Berlin film festival Golden Bear-winning drama “Bal” (Honey), announced on Thursday that he had withdrawn his film from the festival. Some Turkish public and political figures, as well as workers of culture, were critical of the festival organizers as well.

The festival will last until October 14.

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