ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey's culture minister on Wednesday denounced as "propaganda" a new movie, shown at the Cannes film festival, about the mass killings of Armenians in eastern Turkey.
Istemihan Talay said the film "Ararat," which recalls the plight of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey, was "aggressive" and hurt relations between Armenians 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.
Armenians say a 1915-1923 campaign to force them out of eastern Turkey amounted to a genocide and some 1.5 million people were killed. Turkey, which denies the genocide, says the figures are inflated and says Armenians died during civil unrest.
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.