The Turkish Parliament’s Digital Media Committee will consider license revocation among the sanctions on Disney+ while discussing the platform’s decision not to air the TV series “Atatürk” later this week, the state-run Anadolu agency reported on Tuesday, citing the committee chair.
The series, which was due to air on the centennial of the Turkish Republic, tells the story of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.
Hüseyin Yayman, chair of the committee and a lawmaker from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), on Tuesday told Anadolu that the meeting in which they will discuss sanctions regarding Disney’s decision is scheduled for Oct. 12.
Yayman said they will consider sanctions such as license cancellation, reprimand, a fine and advertising bans, adding that their hope is to pass a reprimand decision unanimously.
“Because … we absolutely do not accept Disney Plus’s decision, we do not find it right. As I have stated before, if necessary, we will propose license cancellation,” he said.
Yayman also stated that they would give Disney+ the opportunity to speak by inviting them to parliament and inquire about the reasons for their decision.
“Was there any pressure on them? Did someone give instructions? Do digital platforms [in Turkey] operate based on instructions? We have the right to answers to these questions,” Yayman said.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) had campaigned against the broadcast of the series and even initiated a boycott targeting Disney+.
The series, which will now be transformed into a feature film, is set to be exclusively shown in Turkish cinemas on Nov. 3.
Following the uproar over the cancellation, Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) chair Ebubekir Şahin announced that an investigation into the platform would be launched.
The Armenians — supported by historians and scholars — say 1.5 million of their people died in a genocide committed by the İttihat Terakki government of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
Turkey accepts that both Armenians and Turks died in huge numbers as Ottoman forces fought czarist Russia but vehemently denies a deliberate policy of genocide.
Atatürk did not have a role in the mass killings according to historians; however, his responsibility in the Turkish government’s involvement in the burning of Smyrna in 1923, where Turkish mobs killed Greeks and Armenians, remains under debate.