Türkiye'nin en iyi köşe yazarları en güzel köşe yazıları ile Hürriyet'te! Usta yazarlar ve gündemi değerlendiren köşe yazılarını takip edin.

Shooting your own foot...

Atilla Olgac's gesticulating bravado on Kanal Turk last week about his capacity to shoot nine Greek Cypriots and one 19-year-old captive Greek Cypriot, overshadowed any other news in both Greece and Cyprus; even in Turkey, the reactions to such a performance made us momentarily switch our attention from another ongoing saga, that of Ergenekon.

Once again the speed with which the news spread, and most importantly the readiness by which the Greek side Ñ media most of all Ñ accepted the story as true without making an effort for the sake of balanced reporting, reminded us once again, that below the thin surface of a relatively calm atmosphere between the two sides, raw feelings and memories are still there ready to pop out and thus easily to be exploited.

Still, that is not to say that I have not been fully convinced about who is right and who is wrong in this matter. Olgac's panicky apologies and his agonizing efforts to persuade everybody that he was making everything up, is too weird. And the instant assurances by Mr. Hilmi Özen Ñ an ex-adviser of the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash Ñ and a "Director of Cyprus State Theater" in 1974, that Olgac, scared to death by the war was just peeling potatoes in the kitchen of his regiment in Cyprus in 1974, is too much of a quick repair job to be fully credible. And although we were led to believe that it was all a big mistake, that it was done just "to test the reaction of the audience" for a future "scenario on the line of "the ’Saving of Private Ryan’" based on an idea that the actor has had in his mind for 30 years," it was interesting that the full story of Olgac's original "I killed 10" claims appeared immediately on the Kurtlar Vadisi's Web site.

Obviously, the administrators of the site saw nothing strange in this fantastic story by one of their main actors.

But Kurtlar Vadisi team is no stranger to controversy. "The Valley of the Wolves- Iraq" the first sequel of the extremely successful, "The Valley of the Wolves" original TV series, was set up in northern Iraq where "cruel American soldiers were capturing brave Turkish special forces soldiers, and humiliating them."

Strong references to Abu Ghraib and the infamous Blackwater security firm and a strong nationalistic line against all the perceived external enemies of the Turks, had fueled enough anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism in Turkey for the series and film to gross almost $30 million at the box office, $25 million of which in Turkey.

It was enough of a profit to convince the producers to continue with yet another "hate" and "conspiracy" sequel. This time the "Valley of the Wolves: Terror" targeted Kurds of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and it was probably going to hit new record earnings if it had not to been censored on its first episode, February 2007, by the Turkish High Board for Radio and TV, or RTÜK, due to scenes of extreme violence.

But conspiracy, violence and hate sell. In its latest mutation launched last April, the "Valley of the Wolves," is dealing with money and the absolute power over Turkey’s economy supposedly held by only four Turkish ruthless families. A new season of this latest series called "Valley of the Wolves-Ambush" was going to be launched soon.

Atilla Olgac became a celebrity overnight. He was known anyway in his own country where he has been working for 45 years as a theater actor. But his recently acquired regional celebrity status now covers also Cyprus and Greece. His face is known and hated. He, claims that his "acting career is finished." But if he is right, then his last act on the small screen was spectacular: dressed all in black and looking quite determined, was targeting an imaginary audience of KanalTurk's program "Orada Neler Oluyor" showing everybody how he had shot those poor Greek Cypriots 35 years ago.

But what he did not know then was that, at the same time he was shooting his own foot. By that real or surreal claim, he put himself in a position where we have no other choice but to think of him as a psychologically disturbed "mythomaniac" who makes up stories to cover his cowardice or a cynical killer Ñ like his TV persona "Kilic."

The dilemma may be bad for him. But not for the producers of the series. The publicity that the series got through the Olgac incident surely would increase the ratings of the latest sequel; by an audience which is now addicted to the traditional recipe of nationalism, chauvinism and xenophobia.
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