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Tuesday, 6 March, 2001, 17:42 GMT
Greece and Turkey's screen friendship
George Papandreou (Greek Foreign Minister) & Bulent Evecit (Turkish Prime Minister)
Relations are improviing between Greece and Turkey
A Turkish film festival is being held in the Greek capital, Athens, in an attempt to strengthen cultural links between the two countries.

But organisers have been called "traitors" by some Greeks opposing ties with Turkey.

Relations between the two nations froze after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, halting close co-operation in the film industry.

The relationship has thawed in recent years, and a Greek film festival was staged in Istanbul in September 2000.

Ten films were selected to be shown in the week-long festival, which ends on Thursday (8 March).

Co-operation

Among them is the first Greco-Turkish co-production in recent years, The Boatman, which tells the story of a love affair between a Turkish fisherman and a Greek singer.

Each film shown represents a different type of Turkish film - from mainstream blockbuster to romance to political.

The cinema which is hosting the event, the Trianon, was attacked by Greek ultra-nationalists on Friday 2 March. They sprayed graffiti accusing the organisers of being "traitors" and smashed windows.

The cinema is now under police guard.

Despite the protests, the event was "made possible by the improvement in relations between the two countries," according to one of the Greek organisers, Babis Aktoglu.

Cultural identity

It would also encourage future joint projects, he said. Three more joint Greek and Turkish productions are now under way.

Mr Aktoglu added that the common cultural identity of the two peoples made more such projects possible.

The film festival has been organised by the Greek Film Centre and Turkish distributors Gunigi Films, and has been supported by both the Turkish and Greek ministries of culture.

Relations between the two countries began to improve when both countries sent help to the other following respective earthquakes in 1999.

Greek film festivals will also be held in New York, Frankfurt, Australia and Republic of the Congo later this year.

See also:

14 Oct 00 | Europe
Turkey and Greece postpone talks
20 Jan 00 | Europe
Greece and Turkey strengthen ties
20 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Greeks bear gifts to British film
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