Hollywood stars Kevin Costner, George Clooney and Hugh Jackman will have leading roles in the Turkish TV series “Selanik 1920 Destani”, The Epic of Thessaloniki 1920. The series will be broadcast by private Kanal D, film settings are planned to take place in Istanbul but also in Thessaloniki, Northern Greece.
The film is set to be a glorification of the founder of modern Turkey and winner of the war Greek-Turkish War 1919-1922, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
The plot is about Ataturk life and the troubles of his family as well as of other Turkish families who had to migrate to turkey when the city of Thessaloniki was handed over to Greece in 1912.
Born in Thessaloniki in 1881, Ataturk used the city as the center of activities of the Young Turks, a political movement, which goal was to replace the Ottoman Empire’s absolute monarchy with a constitutional government. The Young Turks started out as an underground movement, until finally in 1908, they started the Young Turk Revolution from the city of Thessaloniki, by which their revolutionaries gained control over the Ottoman Empire.
The story extends to the Greek-Turkish War of 1919-1922 that ended in Greece’s defeat, uprooted 1,500,000 million Greeks from Asia Minor and 500,000 Muslims from Greece, and the death of estimated one million Greeks in Asia Minor and Pontus.
Among others, the film will reportedly cover also the historical meeting between Ataturk and General Nikolaos Trikoupis, leading commander in the offensives in the West Asia Minor (now Turkey.)
On 29 August 1922, while at Karaja Hisar, also known as Ali Veran (modern Allioren, Turkey) near Kutahya, he was attacked by Turkish cavalry and surrendered along with slightly more than 5,000 men and 300 officers. The defeat marked the collapse of the Greek front line.
His captors led Trikoupis and another general to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in a “house painted in the colors of Greek flag blue and white” in Usak on Sept 4th.
Citing Turkish historical sources, Turkish media report of the meeting: Trikoupis told Ataturk “I should have committed suicide, ” whereas the Turkish leader responded “You did your duty, we respect you for this , your are not prisoner, you are our guest.”
Trikoupis in Turkish prison.
Despite Ataturk generosity, Trikoupis was taken as prisoner of war and returned to Greece in 1923 as part of POWs exchange.
Kevin Costner had reportedly already express his admiration for Ataturk and express his wish to play a relevant role, when he visited Turkey in 2007.
Turkish actor Erdal Caylak will play the role of Trikoupis.
And George Clooney? He will reportedly play the role of British senior Army Officer, Ian Hamilton, commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force during the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915.
Some in Greece wonder how Glooney who is a keen supporter for the recognition of Armenian Genocide by Turkey have accepted such a role.
Latest information by Turkish media report that also Hugh Jackman accepted a role in the TV series, he will play Otto Liman von Sanders, the German general who served as an adviser and military commander to the Ottoman Empire during the First World War and he commanded an Ottoman army during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign in 1918.