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Valley of the Wolves as representative of Turkish popular attitudes towards Iraq

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In 2006, the Turkish film, Valley of the Wolves [Kurtlar Vadisi-Irak] (Serdar Akar, 2006), was released to audiences in Turkey and Europe. Costing US$10 million, it was the most expensive production in the history of Turkish cinema, breaking all box office records in the country. A fantastical account of a Turkish victory over a fictional US invasion of the country, Valley of the Wolves has been interpreted as a reaction to the Sack Incident [uval olayi] of July 2003, in which eleven Turkish soldiers were hooded and arrested in northern Iraq shortly after the US invasion. The film's title hence refers to a dark and dangerous place where howling and vicious wolves namely Americans and Kurds are gathered. This article argues that Valley of the Wolves confirms a reemergence of 1960s Turkish industry (Yeilam) films which emphasized the historical conflict between Western and Islamic values. It discusses the extent to which Valley of the Wolves reflects popular Turkish attitudes towards the US war on Iraq, and it analyzes the film's projection of Turkish humiliation, anger and frustration following the Sack Incident. The article also addresses how Valley of the Wolves engages USTurkish relations and Turkish concerns over current Iraq-related politics, especially the USKurdish alliance, the establishment of an independent Kurdistan, Turkmen and the issue of Kirkuk, US violations of international law in Iraq, and the conflict between Islam and Christianity.

Keywords: American violations; Iraq war; Turkish cinema; Turkish culture; Valley of the Wolves

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Majan University College.

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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  • The International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies is a new peer-reviewed, tri- annual, academic publication devoted to the study of modern Iraq. In recognition of Iraq's increasingly important position on the world stage, the time is right for a new journal dedicated to scholarly engagement with the country.
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