Valley of the Wolves

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This article is about the Valley of the Wolves franchise. For other uses, see Valley of the Wolves (disambiguation).
Valley of the Wolves
Creator Osman Sınav
Original work Valley of the Wolves (2003-2005)
Films and television
Films Valley of the Wolves: Iraq (2006)
Muro: Damn the Humanist Inside (2008)
Valley of the Wolves: Gladio (2009)
Valley of the Wolves: Palestine (2010)
Television series Valley of the Wolves (2003-2005)
Valley of the Wolves: Terror (2007)
Valley of the Wolves: Ambush (2007–Current)

Valley of the Wolves (Turkish: Kurtlar Vadisi) is a popular Turkish media franchise created by Osman Sınav, which has been very popular obtaining high ratings for the television series and one of the highest box office returns in the history of the Turkish cinema for the first movie.

The franchise has also been very controversial from time to time because of its non-Western ideological underpinnings. The title, according to Bünyamın Köselı, writing in Today's Zaman, "evokes mythological images from a story beloved by nationalists of a lone wolf that guided Turks out of a Central Asian valley where they had been trapped by enemies."[1]

Production history[edit]

Valley of the Wolves[edit]

Valley of the Wolves (Turkish: Kurtlar Vadisi) is the original series created by Osman Sınav, which followed a Turkish agent working under the assumed identity of Polat Alemdar (Necati Şaşmaz) attempting to infiltrate the Turkish mafia. It ran for 97 episodes from 2003 to 2005.

Valley of the Wolves: Iraq[edit]

Valley of the Wolves: Iraq (Turkish: Kurtlar Vadisi: Irak) is a controversial 2006 spin-off film directed by Serdar Akar, which follows Polat Alemdar (Necati Şaşmaz) and his team as they go to northern Iraq during the Occupation of Iraq to avenge the death of his brother. Its perceived anti-Americanism and anti-semitism generated interest among American and European media and other organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League. It went on general release across Turkey on February 3, 2006 (2006-02-03) and was one of the highest grossing Turkish film of 2006.[2]

Valley of the Wolves: Terror[edit]

Valley of the Wolves: Terror (Turkish: Kurtlar Vadisi: Terör) is a short-lived spin-off television series, which followed Polat Alemdar in his attempts to infiltrate Kurdish separatist terrorist networks in Turkey. The first episode of the program aired on the night of February 8, 2007 and earned considerable ratings, but the political reflection of the painful issues of Turkey and the violence shown in the first episode triggered a harsh response from RTÜK (Radio and Television Supreme Council). As a result the series was cancelled after its first episode, creating a controversy about censorship in Turkey.

Valley of the Wolves: Ambush[edit]

Valley of the Wolves: Ambush (Turkish: Kurtlar Vadisi: Pusu) is the current spin-off television series, which was launched by Pana Film some time after the cancellation of the previous series, and has been running on Show TV since April 20, 2007. It has not faced any responses from RTÜK yet and it attracts high ratings.

The new series deals with the relations between the state, mafia, business circles, and the deep state phenomenon in Turkey. According to the plot, Ali Candan / Polat Alemdar decides to wage a vigilante struggle against four powerful Turkish families that control the national economy, helping Ahu Toros, a young businesswoman who lost her father in a conspiracy by the said families. Polat Alemdar's biggest rival is "Alexander the Great" (Iskender Buyuk), who trails him at all times. Polat marries Ebru Duru and lives happily, but things take a turn for the worse in the ensuing episodes. The two other protagonists are Memati and Abdulhey. Memati is a former specialized Mafia (working for Cakir at the time) but now Memati is converted into a good person with a brave heart and a patriot like Polat, he always follows Polat's orders. Abdullhey is like Polat, an agent working for Turkey intelligence and serving his country like a real patriot. The main antagonist arrives after the third season and is named Aron Feller, an ex agent of CIA and working in Turkey (or controlling Turkey in some ways). Iskender Büyük is considered like an anti-hero, instead of Aron Feller being the main antagonist. After a long fight-relation against Iskender Büyük, Polat finally manges to kill his main enemy Iskender Büyüük, but he loses his wife Ebru and his little daughter is taken by Aron Feller to be raised as a Christian in the USA. After the death of Iskender Büyük, Polat and his team are facing a new wage of ennemies, they try ro fight against Kurdish terrorism, by the same time a new character appears, his name is Ersoy Ulubey, Ersoy wants to take the deep state of Turkey by the "force". His methods are : terrorism and many relations with big familie leaders like Hasim aga, Izzet aga, Yasar aga etc. He creates a secret fraternity to take upon Turkey, but Polat and his team must now take him down. By the same time, Polat keeps his relations with the "Ihtiyarlar", they give him new missions and Polat is chosen as the "protector" of Turkey. After many episodes Polat kills Ersoy and the main antagonist Aron Feller, by this way almost destroying "Gladio". Through upcoming episodes Suleyman Cakir's family returns after 10 years and new character "Kara" is being introdouced, he was the "old" Polat Alemdar before Polat Alemdar, he too worked for the "Ihtiyarlar" and will bring big help to the team of Canpolat! As the series goes on, many new characters are making appearance such as : Beyefendi, Mete bey, Memduh Baba, Seref Zazaoglu, Mete Aymar etc. In the episode 161 Memati is killed by a mysterious group, the "white elder" of the Ihtiyarlar is killed too by the same mysterious group. Polat and his friends are in shock after Memati's death, they are lost and they cannot take his revenge. The Ihtiyarlar must now choose a new "white elder", so Adil Esrefoglu is chosen, Adil bey is the brother of Dogu Esrefoglu, Adil, Dogu and Aslan Akbey were the ones who created the secret mission : Kurtlar Vadisi. After this Polat will have to deal with Adil bey. Adil bey tells him everything about his past and he also tells him, that he used to be like Polat in his youth services. He says that he formed with his brother Dogu bey the created KGT (Turkey's intelligence agency), he also tells Polat that he was the one who "formed" Aslan Akbey. A new youth team comes in Turkey to help Polat to finish his mission : Kurtlar Vadisi. Memati's death shocked too much everyone.

Muro: Damn the Humanist Inside[edit]

Muro: Damn the Humanist Inside (Turkish: Muro: Lanet Olsun İçimdeki İnsan Sevgisine) is a 2008 spin-off film, directed by Zübeyr Şaşmaz, starring Mustafa Üstündağ and Şefik Onatoğlu as two revolutionaries recently released from prison, who stumble across an illegal organization run by a former friend. The film, which went on general release across Turkey on December 5, 2008 (2008-12-05), is the third highest-grossing Turkish film of 2008.[3]

Valley of the Wolves: Gladio[edit]

Valley of the Wolves: Gladio (Turkish: Kurtlar Vadisi: Gladio) is a 2009 spin-off film directed by Sadullah Şentürk, which follows retired security intelligence agent Iskender Buyuk (Musa Uzunlar) as he decides to strike back against his one-time employers by revealing all he knows about Gladio. "It addresses Turkey’s years-long adventure with the deep state and illegal formations nested within the state" and "aims to provide an opportunity for movie fans to closely look at the 'deep gangs' that attempted to stir and divide Turkey with subversive plots," according to Betül Akkaya Demirbaş in Today's Zaman. It went on general release across Turkey on November 20, 2009 (2009-11-20) and was the fifth highest grossing Turkish film of 2009.[4][5][6][7]

Valley of the Wolves: Palestine[edit]

Valley of the Wolves: Palestine (Turkish: Kurtlar Vadisi: Filistin) is a 2010 spin-off film directed by Zübeyr Şaşmaz, which follows Polat Alemdar (Necati Şaşmaz) and his team as they go to Israel to track and bring down the Israeli military commander who planned and put into force an attack on a Gaza aid flotilla.[1][3][8]

Valley of the Wolves: Karabakh[edit]

Valley of the Wolves: Karabakh (Turkish: Kurtlar Vadisi: Karabağ) is an upcoming spin-off film directed by Zübeyr Şaşmaz, which follows Polat Alemdar (Necati Şaşmaz) and his team as they go to Karabakh, Azerbaijan. The film is a sequel to Valley of the Wolves: Iraq and Valley of the Wolves: Palestine.[9][10] Originally announced in March 2010 during Zübeyr Şaşmaz and Valley of the Wolves actors' Baku visit.[11][12][13] Necati Şaşmaz confirmed that some of events in Nagorno-Karabakh War and Khojaly massacre will be included in the film.[14]

Cultural impact[edit]

"Kurtlar Vadisi became an instant hit with its references to Turkish politics, its unabashed abuse of social sensitivities on patriotism, and with unprecedented scenes of violence that included assassination and torture on television", Hürriyet Daily News reviewer Emrah Güler. "Not unlike John Woo’s Face/Off an undercover Turkish agent goes through a set of plastic surgeries to infiltrate the mafia, along with a gunman who walks surefooted in this muddy underworld", Güler continues, "the two go through ordeals of every kind for Polat to become the next baron so that he can break them apart." "The hype eventually got so big that the final episodes featured Andy Garcia as the big American mafia boss and Sharon Stone as his wife, eventually lending a kiss to our hero."[7]

Lead character Polat Alemdar (Necati Şaşmaz) "established in the image of a mafia-macho Turkish guy", according to Hürriyet Daily News reviewer Emrah Güler, and was "admired by the unemployed and frustrated young men all over Turkey". Güler describes him as “the Turkish equivalent of 24’s Jack Bauer, entangled in the deep state, disguised as a mafia boss”. "Short and ordinary looking," according to Güler, "Polat has a self-defined sense of justice that included hanging traitors in the city center of Istanbul." "The series had reached such a cult status that many young men officially changed their names to Polat Alemdar", Güler concludes.[7]

Controversies[edit]

An episode of Valley of the Wolves: Ambush that depicted Israeli Mossad agents spying inside Turkey and kidnapping Turkish babies was roundly criticized by the Israeli government and media.[15] The Turkish government's refusal to act on Israeli requests to more strictly censor the show had contributed to a deepening of a row between the two countries, culminating in Turkey's threat to recall ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oguz Celikkol after a controversial diplomatic meeting with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon in January 2010.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Köselı, Bünyamın (2010-08-15). "‘Valley of the Wolves: Palestine’". Today's Zaman. Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  2. ^ Anti-Defamation League: ADL Continues to Voice Concern About Anti-Jewish and Anti-Israel Climate in Turkey
  3. ^ a b "This week in theaters". Today's Zaman. 2008-12-06. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  4. ^ Güler, Emrah (2009-11-11). "Week in the movies: New moon over 'The Twilight'". Turkish Daily News. Retrieved 2010-08-11. 
  5. ^ "This week in theaters". Today's Zaman. 2009-11-21. Retrieved 2010-08-11. [dead link]
  6. ^ Akkaya Demirbaş, Betül (2009-11-22). "Movies carry Turkey’s heated issues to the big screen". Today's Zaman. Retrieved 2010-08-11. 
  7. ^ a b c Güler, Emrah (2009-11-26). "‘Valley of the Wolves’ hopes to spark more nationalism". Turkish Daily News. Retrieved 2010-08-11. 
  8. ^ "‘Valley of the Wolves’ sets Nov. 5 release date". Today's Zaman. 2010-07-28. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  9. ^ "Kurtlar Vadisi Karabağ filmi geliyor". Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "'Filistin'den sonra sıra 'Karabağ'da". Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "Kurtlar Vadisi Karabağ'a el attı". Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  12. ^ Rustamov, Rashad. "Долина волков. Карабах". Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  13. ^ "Скандальный турецкий сериал снимает фильм про Карабах". Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  14. ^ "Turkish Production Company Plans to Shoot a Film on Karabakh and Khojalu". Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  15. ^ CNN.com: Israel criticizes Turkey over television series
  16. ^ BBC News: Israel rebukes Turkey over a television series

External links[edit]