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Turkey's Rambo takes on Israel

As Ban Ki moon struggles to patch up relations between Israel and Turkey following the raid on a Turkish aid ship by the Israeli Defense Forces, a Turkish film company has decided to rock the boat, so to speak. Passions on both sides are likely to be inflamed by a new film portraying a Turkish agent exacting revenge on the Israeli troops who carried out the May 31 raid.

A trailer for the movie, Valley of the Wolves: Palestine, was released this week ahead of the film's opening across Turkey starting January 28. It has been received by the Israel press as another example of mounting anti-Semitism in Turkey. The trailer opens with scenes of Turkish aid activists on the Mavi Marmara sailing toward the Gaza strip as Israeli special forces mount the ship and proceed to shoot passengers. The movie focuses on a secret operation by a Turkish hit squad -- led by a Turkish agent named Polet Alemdar, a kind of Rambo of the Islamic world -- as they travel to Israel to hunt down and carry out bloody reprisals against those responsible for the killings.

The film - the third in a series of a big budget Valley of the Wolves blockbuster flicks produced in Turkey -- provides a portrayal of Turkey's clandestine operatives as a fierce band of assassins whose deadly deeds have earned them even the respect of the menacing Israeli security forces. One Israel official cautions a colleague that "this team is a special Turkish squad. Let's take this a bit more seriously, please."

The film's hero, played by the Turkish film star, Necati Sasmaz, is openly defiant of Israeli authorities as he leads his team on a series of bloody strikes on Israeli targets, shooting up Israeli ground troops and blowing up Israeli helicopters. "Why did you come to Israel," an Israeli soldier asks Alemdar at a checkpoint. "I did not come to Israel I came to Palestine."

The films' producers courted controversy in 2006 with the release of a Valley of the Wolves movie set in Iraq and depicting the U.S. military as hair-trigger aggressors. That film cost over $10 million to make, more than any previous Turkish film, and was a hit at the box office. It included a performance by American actor Gary Busey, who played a Jewish-American doctor who harvested prisoners' organ for resale to rich clients in the United States.

Follow me on Twitter @columlynch

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