Poster of the film Shoah by Claude Lanzmann
Poster of the film Shoah by Claude Lanzmann

Turkey marked the international Holocaust Remembrance Day by airing a documentary about the Holocaust on state television.

TRT television's documentary channel broadcast Claude Lanzman's documentary 'Shoah' on the eve of the Remembrance Day.

The filmmaker of the nine-hour-plus documentary said it is the first time the film was shown on state television in a Muslim country and described the move as historic.

"We should acknowledge the courage and determination of the Turks," Lanzmann told the AFP.

"Turkey is a country people don't know and understand very badly, " he added.

The imitative was part of a campaign by the Aladdin Project, a Paris-based group who works on improving Jewish-Muslim relations.

Abraham Radkin, the organisation's director was in Istanbul ahead of the documentary's broadcast.

"A ceremony to mark the airing of the film and the international Remembrance Day was organised on Thursday 26 January in Istanbul. It was attended up to 600 people, including various Turkish intellectuals and officials from the government," Radkin told the IBTimes UK.

"We have had very good reactions following the broadcast. Various Turkish newspapers have written positive articles, praising the decision to show the documentary."

"We are very pleased and encouraged by the reactions that we are seeing .We think that it is a historic decision that will have consequences and repercussions across the Muslim world and help our efforts to change the prevailing perception in the Muslim world about the holocaust and thereby encourage Muslim-Jewish rapprochement and relations," he added.

The documentary 'Shoah' was in March 2011 broadcast in Iran but on a Los Angeles-based satellite channel called Pars TV

"The airing of the documentary in Iran also generated a lot of reactions from the Iranian public. The channel received 3,000 calls and e-mails in support of the broadcast but there was a strong reaction from the government, with many officials calling the initiative a Zionist Plot."

The Turkish official decision to air the film comes as across the Muslim world, denial of the Holocaust is still rife. Regretting the lack of support for the Holocaust Memorial Day, Mehdi Hasan, senior editor at the New Statesman wrote when talking about British Muslims " How can we claim to be proud, integrated, Europeans Muslims if we ignore a seminal moment in the history of this continent?"

"By joining events to mark the day, British Muslims can emulate out Prophet. Muhammad once saw a Jewish funeral procession pass by and stood up as a sign of respect. His companions asked why he stood up for a dead Jew. "Is he not a human being?" responded the Prophet", Hasan added.

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