ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Turkish action movie that opened in cinemas across the country Friday begins with Israeli soldiers raiding a Turkish aid ship and shooting at unarmed activists on deck. A Turkish undercover agent then appears in Jerusalem vowing to hunt down and kill the Israeli commander who ordered the attack.
Based on the real-life May 31 attack on a Turkish ship that tried to bust through the blockade of Gaza as part of an international flotilla, the movie "Valley of the Wolves — Palestine" could worsen already tense relations between Turkey and Israel.
As the Turkish protagonist, Polat Alemdar, and his two hit men chase after the villain Moshe ben Eliezer, Israelis are portrayed as merciless tyrants who kill Palestinian women and children and long to take over Muslim lands to create a "Greater Israel" spanning from "the river Euphrates to the Nile."
The popular TV series "Valley of the Wolves," on which the feature-length film is based, already caused a diplomatic dispute between Turkey and Israel last year and Israel's ambassador Gabby Levy told Turkey's Anatolia news agency this week that the movie was slanderous.
It quoted Levy as saying that some "generalizations about the Jewish people, certain anti-Semitic approaches" were "disturbing."
Levy also expressed dismay that the film's special gala viewing on Wednesday and its Friday opening came around the same time as the Jan. 27 International Holocaust Remembrance day, which Turkey marked with an official ceremony at an Istanbul synagogue.
Levy was not available for comment on Friday, the embassy said.
Turkey and Israel signed a military cooperation agreement in the mid-1990s that made Turkey the closest ally of Israel in the Muslim world. But relations between the two have strained over the Islamic-oriented government's increasingly critical statements on Israel's treatment of Palestinians and reached near collapse after the raid.
Turkey is demanding an apology and compensation for the victims of the flotilla attack before ties can return to normal. An Israeli inquiry that cleared its military and government of wrongdoing in the raid has made reconciliation more difficult. Turkey revealed details of its own investigation describing alleged Israeli violations of international law during the attack.
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