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    Erdogan, The Movie! New Biopic to Glorify Early Life of Turkey's President

    © Photo: Facebook/Reha Beyoğlu
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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apparently wants to join the club of politicians whose biopics have made their life's stories familiar to everyone, like President Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi or King George VI of the UK: a new feature film tracing the early years of his career is set to hit the country's movie theaters in March.

    Shooting is set to start this week. The film will feature the early years of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “from his childhood in a poor district in Istanbul to his rise to become the city's mayor,” the film’s producers told the media.

    "Reis" ('The Chief') will star well-known Turkish actor Reha Beyoğlu as the Turkish strongman and show his life up to 1999,” the Turkish media quotes Evrensel Medya Group's producers as saying.

    ​“The film will [portray] Erdogan's childhood in the Kasımpasa district on the shores of the Golden Horn in Istanbul, his spell as Istanbul mayor from 1994-1998 and his imprisonment in 1999,” the country’s national news agency Anadolu Agency quotes producer Ali Avcı as saying.

    ​In 1999, the current president served four months in prison after he was convicted of "inciting hatred based on religious differences" in a speech he made in the town of Siirt.

    The speech Erdogan gave, which led to his downfall and ban from politics until his own party came to power in 2002 and pushed through legal reforms, was delivered in 1997. During his address, Erdogan read a poem by nationalist ideologist Ziya Gokalp.

    A detailed reconstruction of the surroundings where the president had spent his early years has already been put in place in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, where most of the movie is going to be shot.

    Well-known Turkish actress Özlem Balcı will play his wife Emine Erdogan.

    "These days we see characters from global cinema like Spiderman and Superman, who have never lived, on the T-shirts of our children and sometimes in books," said Avcı.

    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting in Ankara, Turkey.
    © AP Photo / Yasin Bulbul, Presidential Press Service, Pool
    "But we have our own heroes who are alive! The process of this film began with the thought, 'how did they become heroes'?"

    "Instead of seeing him as the president, people will see Erdoğan as a man who grew up in Kasımpaşa and lived in Istanbul," Avcı added.

    There are already stadiums and institutions named after him, mostly in his ancestral region of Rize on the Black Sea and in Kasımpaşa.

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    Tags:
    movie, biography, Reha Beyoglu, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kasımpasa, Turkey
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