What happens when states with formerly friendly relations have, at best, exchanges only at the highest political levels? When citizen exchanges through tourism, education, or commerce are slowed, perceptions can get skewed. A dual university exchange program with SUNY and a Turkish university isn't supported by State because it "takes too long". Sacrificing the long goal for the short-term gain is extremely myopic and dangerous. What happens when people don't know the United States? When they no longer disassociate America with its often (to them) annoying leadership? When the American Military Imperialism is seen as here and now? You get a domestically made movie with the largest budget ever seen in Turkey. To see the movie you almost have to make reservations because theaters across Turkey are sold out. It's doing well with Turkish audiences in Germany as well.
What's the plot, you might ask. Starting as phenomenally popular TV series, "Kurtlar vadisi - Irak" is about American soldiers in Iraq, but not the guys we know. Starting with a real event in July 2003, it reinforces the perception of what too many Turks have of Americans, as reinforced by Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, Afghanistan wedding parties getting shot, etc. Incidents we here in the US don't really see or don't understand the impact of. The movie has a massacre of a wedding party, fire-bombing a mosque, executions, and Gary Busey (yes, that Gary Busey) as an evil doctor harvesting organs from Iraqi prisoners for patients in the US, Israel and Britain. Except for Busey's role, these incidents in some form or another have played out in reality making the movie not as far fetched to foreign audiences as one might initially think. However, the movie is an extreme and should be considered dangerous to our relations with the Street. See the trailers, especially the one about the cargo trailer, here.
Technorati Tags: Turkey, Politics, GWOT, Public Diplomacy