17th december

3 questions to Mustafa Altıoklar about his new Gezi film project

Little more than one year has passed since the Gezi protests in Turkey. Mustafa Altıoklar, renowned Turkish film director and one of the medical doctors volunteering during the protests, is now planning to make a film about the events. In short, the film will portray a love story between a female protester and a young man, whose family has ties to the ruling party, AKP. A sort of Romeo and Juliet story, that will also contain real life footage, shot by Mustafa Altıoklar during the protests.

Mustafa Altioklar Gezi protest Film movie

He has already written a script for the movie, and producer Nida Karabol has been assigned to the project.

Now he is reaching out to the public in order to get funding for this film, that is highly controversial in today’s Turkey.

I asked Mustafa Altıoklar three questions about the project. Here are his answers:

First of all, how was the process of writing the script?

Mustafa Altıoklar: Painfull… As I am a medical doctor under my other hat, I treated the wounded as a volunteer doctor in the make-shift infirmary in Gezi Park even as tear gas and rubber bullets were raining down. So, I observed the events in a unique position to tell this story as an insider who witnessed unfolding dramas first hand. I started writing the diaries during the days of the protests and finalised the script soon after the termination of revolts. 90% of the events in the script are true stories, so most script writing job consisted of conjoining them in a meaningful way. This operation took about two months and was painful, since I recalled the tragic events over and over through out the process.

Why reach out to the public for funding?

Mustafa Altıoklar: Firstly, I want to make clear that this is a non-profit venture. All funding will be used in the making of the film and any surplus, as well as proceeds from the film, is to be donated to other non-profit ventures or organisations. Secondly, the current repressive situation in Turkey makes it almost impossible to secure funding for a project that goes against the government’s liking. Media and even businesses feel the autocratic pressure daily and the government, with all forces at its disposal, acts promptly and forcefully at the slightest whiff of public dissent. It is, of course, futile to apply to the Ministry of Culture for support funds for a project like this. Consequently the only way to raise funding for this movie is crowd-funding.

What measures do you think the government will take to stop this film?

Mustafa Altıoklar:  On the 18th of June, just some days ago, the government banned certain subjects to be discussed openly, such as the Roboski massacre, Reyhanli massacre, the 17th December corruption operation, the Soma disaster and ISIS terrorism. So, they may just add another prohibition to shoot this film. They may also send treasury inspectors to dig out pseudo legal issues, or they may send narcotics to disrepute any of the volunteers of the project. They will definitely threaten the providers, supporters and media who publish any news about the project. They may cancel or forbid the locations that we want to film at, and finally they may imprison me to stop filming. We are prepared to handle any of this, including me going to jail. I already made a plan on how to finish the film remotely.

In order to donate to this Gezi film project CLICK HERE!

Leaked sound recording might determine Erdogan’s future

The heat has turned up on Turkish Prime minister Tayyip Erdogan. With about one month left to local elections, five phone recordings were leaked on Youtube yesterday. In just a couple of hours, the video with the recordings had over one  million views. Why? It exposes that Tayyip Erdogan and his family are bathing in enormous amounts of unaccounted cash.

Most of the conversations on the leaked recordings allegedly took place between Tayyip Erdogan and his son Bilal Erdogan on the 17th of December, the same day as a graft probe was unexpectedly initiated against ministers and sons in Tayyip Erdogan’s own government.

Tayyip Erdogan, who is in Ankara, calls his son, who seems to be sleeping and unaware of the turmoil created by the corruption investigation. Its 08.00 in the morning:

R. TAYYİP ERDOĞAN: Are you at home?

N. BİLAL ERDOĞAN: I am, father.

RTE: This morning they did an operation, this Ali Agaoglu, Reza Zerrab, our Erdogans son [another Erdogan], Zafers son, Muammers son, their homes are being searched.

NBE: Tell me again, father.

RTE: I am saying Muammers son, Zafers son, Erdogans son, Ali Agaoglu, Reza Zerrab, 18 people right now, the are doing a big corruption operation and their homes are being searched.

NBE: Yes

RTE: Ok? Now I say, whatever you have at home, take it out! Ok?

NBE: What would I have, father, there is your money in the safe.

RTE: That’s what I am saying! I am sending your sister now. Ok?

NBE: Who are you sending?

RTE: I am saying that I am sending your sister!

NBE: Eh, ok!

RTE: Then the same way, she has that information, ok? Talk to your brother!

NBE: Yes!

RTE: Lets do that things, talk to your uncle too, he should also take it out the same way, talk to your brother in law, he should also…

NBE: What should we do to it, father, where should we put it?

RTE: To specific places, do it!

In the other, following recordings, Bilal Erdogan calls back to his father and report how the work is proceeding. After a day of collecting enormous amounts of cash, allegedly about USD 1 billion from 5 different houses and making it disappear by buying flats and paying in advance for projects to businessmen they work together with, he still haven’t been able to hide it all.

At 23.15 the same day this call takes place:

NBE: Hi daddy, I am calling to… we almost did it. Eh, did you call me father?

RTE: No I did not, you called me.

NBE: I was called from a secret number

RTE: By saying mostly, did you fully dissolve it?

NBE: We did not zeroized it yet father. Let me explain. We still have 30 million Euros that we could not yet dissolve. Berat thought of something. There was an additional 25 million dollars that Ahmet Calik should receive. They say let’s give this to him there. When the money comes, we do something, they say. And with the remaining money we can buy a flat from Sehrizar, he says. What do you say, father?

Tayyip Erdogan accepts his son’s ideas about how the last 30 million Euros should be hidden. The next day, on the 18th of December, Bilal Erdogan calls his father and says that all the money has been “zeroized”.

How the leaked recordings are going to influence the upcoming local elections March 30 is hard to say at this point. The opposition parties, naturally, immediately called for Erdogan to resign, while the prime minister himself claimed that the over 11 minutes long file of conversation was a montage, adding that he was going to sue the ones behind the “dirty plot” against him and his family.

However, its certain that the voter’s reactions to the recordings is going to be crucial for Turkeys near future. If these recordings can’t harm Erdogan considerably in the upcoming elections, I am afraid that nothing can.

Three Ministers Allegedly Took 63.5 Million Dollars in Bribes

According to the newspaper Cumhuriyet, the three ministers that were recently fired because of corruption charges, have received a total of 63.5 million dollars in bribes. Former economy minister Zafer Çağlayan allegedly received a total of 52 million dollars at 28 occasions. Former interior minister Muammer Güler recieved 10 million dollars on 10 occassions and the EU minister Egemen Bağış 1.5 million dollars on three occasions. 

To put 63.5 million dollars in perspective, an average Turkish household has a disposable income of about 12 000 dollars. Consequently, the bribes correspond to the yearly income of 5292 families!

Three Ministers Took 63.5 Million Dollars in Bribes

Three Ministers Took 63.5 Million Dollars in Bribes