ANKARA — Turkish public television will show an epic French documentary about the Holocaust, the first broadcast of its kind by national media in a Muslim state, it was announced Wednesday.
A spokesman for Turkish public television TRT said the 1985 film “Shoah” would be shown on one of the network’s 14 channels, but did not say when.
The director of nine-hour-plus documentary, Claude Lanzmann, called the Turkish move historic.
“We should acknowledge the courage and determination of the Turks,” said Lanzmann, who spent 11 years working on the documentary. “Turkey is a country people don’t know and understand very badly.”
Turkey’s broadcast of the film is the culmination of work by the Aladdin Project, a Paris-based group which tries to improve Jewish-Muslim relations.
The group said in a statement the film would be shown Thursday, the day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, adding that it had never before been shown in its entirety in a Muslim country.
Consisting largely of Holocaust-survivor interviews, the film examines the killing of European Jews in Nazi death camps during World War II.
Its broadcast comes at a sensitive time in Turkey’s international relations.
Ankara hopes to eventually join the European Union, but it is embroiled in a spat with Paris over the French senate’s approval of a law making it a crime to deny that the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman forces in World War II was genocide.
Ankara’s relations with Israel were damaged in 2010 after Israeli commandoes stormed a Turkish aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip in an operation that led to the deaths of nine Turkish activists.