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Monday, 4 March, 2002, 18:18 GMT
Turkey film ban 'grave mistake'
Istanbul
Turkey has a 12 million strong Kurdish community
By the BBC's Johnny Dymond in Istanbul

Turkish film critics have hit out at the country's ministry of culture after it banned a film featuring a relationship between a retired judge and a young Kurdish girl.

The banning of Big Man, Small Love is a grave mistake, Turkey's film critics' association has said.

It is unlikely to stop many people seeing the film in Turkey, where it has already been on general release for six months, and there are more confusing aspects to the affair.

The ministry, which announced the ban on Sunday, actually helped finance the film with a grant of about 20,000.


Many political films have been shown without any problem at all

Attila Dorsay, film critics' association,

Their relationship is a symbol of the difficulties Turkey has in its relationship with its 12 million strong Kurdish minority.

Censorship

Up to 40,000 people have died in the civil war between the Turkish army and Kurdish paramilitaries.

Attila Dorsay, president of the film critics' association, said: "Although 10 years ago a kind of war went on in the eastern part of Turkey, practically no film has been banned.

"In other words the censorship, which was very severe in Turkey since over 20, 25 years, has become very tolerant - and many political films have been shown without any problem at all."

The ban on Big Man, Small Love came about after strong pressure from the police.

In the film officers are shown carrying out a cold-blooded killing whilst in pursuit of Kurdish rebels.

The ban might be an attempt to try and protect Turkey's international reputation, but the film critics' association says it will only make Turkey look repressive.

See also:

27 Feb 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Turkey
06 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Greece and Turkey's screen friendship
15 Feb 99 | Europe
Turkey screens banned film
22 Oct 98 | Europe
Filming Turkey's hero
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