Iki hafta kadar once Osmanli Imparatorlugu ile ilgili Osman’s Dream diye bir kitap aldiydim. Bas kisimlarini gene biraz hizlica gectim ama artik daha yavas, hatta cok daha yavas ilerlemeye basladim. Benim 'Uykudan Once' saatim gibi olmaya basladiysa da kitap en az uc dort sayfa okuyup yatiyorum her gece. Bazi kitaplar insani esir alir ya boyle. Bir kitabi bitirmeden oburune baslarsam bitirmedigimi hic bitiremem diye elimden birakamiyorum. Ama bu gidisle bu kitabi bitirmem ve yeni bir kitaba baslamam da aylar surecek. Bir gece canima tak etmesini bekliyorum galiba :P Neyse...
Gene gecen hafta bizim Turk-Amerikan kultur derneklerinin email listelerinde duyuru ustune duyuru yapildi. History Channel, Ottoman Empire: The War Machine adli bir belgeseli yayina koyacak dendi. Uc ayri yayin saati vardi, ilki gecen persembe aksami saat 8’deydi. Bir yandan kitapla cebellesen ben, ayri bir heyecan duydum. Amanin simdi bakalim bunlar neler anlatacaklar diye. Kurulduk televizyonun basina. Bir seyler gostermeye basladilar ama gelgelelim bizim belgesel degil, Seven Wonders of the World diye baska bir belgesel oynuyordu. Hemen TVGuide Channel’dan yayin akisina baktik. O da Ott. Emp. belgeseli var diye gosteriyordu. Kanallar arasinda biraz daha gidip geldikten sonra internetten History Channel’in web sayfasina baktik. Burada da bu degisiklikten bahsedilmiyordu. Biz de oylece kalakaldik ekranin karsisinda. Killanmadik desek yalan. Daha once hic boyle birdenbire bir yayin degisikligi gormediydik ne bu kanalda, ne de bir baskasinda.
Simdi yine derneklerin email listelerinde yazilar donup duruyor bu konuyla ilgili. Soylendigine gore bazi arkadaslar email atmislar konuyla ilgili ve Hist. Channel belgeselin yayina henuz hazir olmadigini gerekce gostermis. Ama belgeselin DVDsi satisa cikarilmis durumdaymis o sirada. Bunun uzerine DVDnin satisi ile ilgili baglantiyi da kaldirmislar Hist. Channel’in web sayfasindan. Bilmiyorum ama tuhaf seyler bunlar. Durumu ozetleyen ve ilgili yayin organlarina iletildigi soylenen soyle bir yazi nakledildi. Ben de buraya koyayim istedim:
HISTORY CHANNEL SUSPICIOUSLY CANCELS OTTOMAN FILM
Up until a few days ago, the new film "Ottoman Empire: The War Machine", scheduled to air on June 22, 2006 on the History Channel, was one of its most well advertised programs. News that a film about the Ottoman Empire was going to be broadcasted even reached the Turkish media, becoming a newsflash in main news organizations. Yet, when Americans went to their televisions at 8pm on the 22nd with great expectations of this film, they were dissapointed to find out that the film had been replaced on the schedule with "The Seven Wonders of the World." The reason given in response to inquiries of the Turkish American community was: "We will be rescheduling this documentary, which was scheduled to premiere on Thursday June 22 at 8PM, because the program was not completed in time for air." Indeed, when I looked up the film on the History Channel website, I saw that the film was scheduled to be shown one month from now, on July 24th at 8 AM in the morning. The film had gone from being shown three times in the afternoon and evening, to just once in the morning at a time when perhaps not many people would be tuning in. Furthermore, when I looked in the History Store, I saw that a DVD of the film was for sale and I successfully gave my credit card information to complete the purchase. How odd that the film was completed enough for the DVD to be sold, but not ready enough for broadcasting. I sent an email to the History Channel directly asking that question: how could this be possible? The next day, the DVD was removed from sale and the link to the film said "Sorry there is no upcoming episode."
All this has left American viewers and the Turkish American community in shock and dismay. On the History Channel website, several viewers voiced their concerns over the inconsistant explanations being given, questioning whether the cancellation was politically motivated or due to Armenian pressuring. In February, PBS cancelled the showing of the film "Armenian Revolt" that explained the Turkish viewpoint of the Turco-Armenian conflict of 1915, instead choosing to only show the film "Armenian Genocide" after pressure from the Armenian American community. Due to Turkish American protests and petitions, a discussion panel was aired after showing the genocide film. However, Senior Vice President of Programming Jacoba Atlas was pressured to leave her position after 30 members of the Congressional Caucus for Armenian Issues objected to the airing of the panel discussion and future funding for PBS was questioned. The current History Channel fiasco is thus potentially the second time that Turkish freedom of speech is being curtailed due to possibly political reasons.
The Ottoman Empire is one of the least understood nations in the Western world, primarily because virtually nothing about the Ottoman Turks is taught in American schools. This film, therefore, is very important to the Turkish American community since it is one of the few chances we have to educate the general American public about our ancestors and change stereotypes. The History Channel owes an honest explanation to the Turkish American community. It will indeed be a sad day if the History Channel cancels a broadcast due to political reasons, and then lies about it to cover their tracks. For the sake of freedom of speech in America, I sincerely hope that our fears are wrong!