If you’ve checked out any of the official Disney+ social media posts over the past week or so, you might have noticed lots of comments from angry Disney+ subscribers about an upcoming Turkish series about the country’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Last month, Disney announced that the Ataturk show would debut on the streaming platform on “on the 100th anniversary” of the Turkish Republic, which is on October 29th 2023.   The series stars Aras Bulut Iynemli in the title role, who led the Turkish independence struggle in the years following World War I and became the country’s first president. He is a much-venerated figure in Turkey, where insulting his memory is a criminal offence.

Joining Aras Bulut İynemli as Mustafa Kemal; Songül Öden, Sarp Akkaya, Esra Bilgiç, Mehmet Günsür and Berk Cankat star in the upcoming scripted show. Produced by Lanistar Medya, by Saner Ayar and Hakan Karamahmutoğlu, Atatürk is written by Necati Şahin and directed by Mehmet Ada Öztekin.

According to the Associated Press, Turkey’s Broadcasting watchdog has launched an investigation into claims that Disney has pulled the series from its schedule and has cancelled the show.   The Turkish Watchdog Ebubekir Sahin said on social media (translated)

Based on the public information that the digital media service provider “Disney +” has decided not to broadcast the domestic content “Atatürk” on its platform, it has been decided to take the defense of the organization and initiate an investigation.

Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of our Republic of Türkiye, is our most important social value.

The allegations of Armenian lobby intervention, which are reflected in the press, are meticulously investigated.

I respectfully announce to the public.


The Armenian Americans have been campaigning for the show to be cancelled because Ataturk was tied to the mass killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in 1915, which is widely viewed as the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey denies that the deaths of Armenians constituted genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest. The Armenian National Committee of America took to social media earlier in the week, claiming that the show has been cancelled.

“Thank you to all who joined ANCA’s campaign against glorifying genocidal Turkish killer Kemal Atatürk- preventing the normalization of mass murder for audiences of millions worldwide,”

The new of the show’s cancellation has also now led to Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Mustafa Sarıgül calling on “all citizens in Turkey and in the world” to boycott the streaming platform.

It’s also worth noting that recently, Disney removed several Turkish Originals from Disney+ around the world, including “King Shakir Recycle”, “Ben Gri”, and “Runaway”, as part of a $1.8 billion impairment charge to save the company money as basically as a tax-write-off. Disney CEO Bob Iger has previously said that they will be cutting back on its international originals and focusing on global releases as part of a plan to save around $5 billion and also doesn’t want to be involved in any culture wars.

Since the news has broken, Disney has reached out to me to confirm details about the show, confirming that the show will not be released in Disney+, but will instead be released on other platforms in Turkey.    FOX and Lanistar Medya will release ‘Atatürk’ as two films for TV and cinema. Film 1 will air on FOX on October 29th 2023 followed by a theatrical release. Film 2 will then be released theatrically across Türkiye from December 22nd 2023. Both will return to FOX in summer 2024.

The Walt Disney Company Türkiye General Manager Cenk Soner said in a statement:

We are presenting ‘Atatürk’ on 100th anniversary of the Republic on our FOX free to air channel. Atatürk will air in two parts, with the first film on our FOX channel followed by both films in cinemas across Türkiye enabling us to reach wider audiences in line with our revised content distribution strategy.

As producer of the Atatürk, Lanistar Medya founder Saner Ayar added:

As part of the 100 year celebrations, we’re proud to announce that we will be bringing Atatürk to even more people from October through free to air FOX. Followed then by a theatrical window where people can experience both Film 1 and Film 2 on the big screen.”

Atatürk’s updated release schedule:

  • October 29, FOX | Film 1 (TV edition)
  • November 4, theatrical release of Film 1
  • December 22, theatrical release of Film 2
  • Summer 2024, FOX – Film 1 and Film 2


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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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