Ararat Should Serve as Impetus for Genocide Recognition Ambassador Says

YEREVAN–ANKARA (Noyan Tapan–AP)– "The film ‘Ararat’ is–in fact–another attempt by the genocide victims’ descendants to reach out a hand for dialogue and mutual understanding with the Turks," said Armenian Ambassador to France Eduard Nalbandian–in reply to journalists’ questions after the film showing at the 55th festival in Cannes.

"As one of the heroes of the film puts it–the page of the history needs to be turned. Yes–we must turn that black page together–however–by recognizing the Genocide–and not rejecting it," the ambassador emphasized.

It is known that the Turkish Embassy voiced a protest in connection with the film’s showing in Cannes–particularly warning: "It is to be pitied that the mixture of reality and imagination turns a work of art into an instrument of propaganda kindling the anti-Turk hatred–as the ‘Midnight Express’ did once."

In Ankara–meanwhile–Turkey’s culture minister on Wednesday denounced as "propaganda" a new movie–shown at the Cannes film festival–about the mass killings of Armenia’s in eastern Turkey.

Istemihan Talay said the film "Ararat," which recalls the plight of Armenia’s in Ottoman Turkey–was "aggressive" and hurt relations between Armenia’s and Turks.

The film by director Atom Egoyan opened in Cannes on Monday.

"It’s wrong to use a universal art such as cinema in a way to distort the truths of history and to create animosity between societies–nations–and countries," Talay said.

State Minister Yilmaz Karakoyunlu–the government spokesman–also spoke out against the film.

"This is one example of a campaign waged against Turkey," Karakoyunlu said.

Some Turkish civil groups have called for a boycott against Miramax–which released the film–and the Walt Disney Co.–its parent company.

The film leaps between 1915 Turkey and present-day Canada and shows how history affects two Canadian families.

The characters are struggling to come to terms with the loss of loved ones and look to the past for answers.


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