Turkey bans documentary on ISIS attack victims in south eastern town

Turkish authorities have banned the screening of a documentary that tells the story of 33 people killed in an Islamic State (ISIS) bomb attack in the southeast Turkish town of Suruç in July 2015, news site Bianet said on Friday.

The Islamic State killed 33 young activists in the Turkish border town of Suruç in a bomb attack on July 20, 2015.

The activists had gathered to discuss the reconstruction of the neighbouring Syrian town of Kobane, the site of a siege that made international headlines the previous year, when ISIS forces attempted to take the majority Kurdish town from the Syrian Kurdish militants defending it.

The Kobane siege had a dramatic impact in Turkey, where many Kurdish citizens perceived the Turkish military’s failure to support the town’s defenders as tacit support for the Islamic State.

Though the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have been internationally praised for their part in defeating ISIS, Turkey views it as a terrorist organisation due to its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which began an armed struggle for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey in 1984.

The police department and district governorship of Istanbul's Şişli banned the premiere of the documentary “Gitmek” (Going) and said in a written statement that the film was "making propaganda for a terrorist organisation."

The documentary tells the story of the 33 victims and, through interviews with friends and families, attempts to reveal the motivations that brought them from across Turkey to the border of Kobane.

Rights groups say the Turkish authorities' censorship on cinema, internet and literature has dramatically increased in recent years.