Kod Adı: KOZ gives us the Turkish government's version of its spectacular falling-out with Fethullah Gülen, an influential Islamic cleric who lives in Pennsylvania. Gülen was once a close ally of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan but, over the past three years, relations have soured and in December 2014 a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of "leading a terrorist plot to seize power". The story of the rift is complex, but the official government line is that Gülen is bent on destroying the Turkish state with his huge network of followers embedded in the police and judiciary: the so-called "Parallel State".
This is rich fodder for political drama, further improved by lashings of artistic license. The key details of the Kod Adı: KOZ poster act as signposts – the silhouette with the unmistakable profile can only be Gülen, Big Ben represents the dark forces of supposed Gülen affiliates – the British and American intelligence services – and the tag line refers to the countless rumors and half-truths peddled by Turkish media on both sides of the fight. At the end of the film, viewers are under no illusion as to which version of the story the producers wish them to believe.
KOZ sails dangerously close to libel but stops short by assigning fictional names to its characters. Instead, actors have been carefully chosen for their physical resemblances to the politicians, prosecutors and clerics they represent – sometimes, the resemblances are so uncanny as to suggest that these "actors" are in fact random men spotted somewhere by a casting agent and hauled off in triumph as the closest available body doubles.
This theory is supported by the fact that many characters have been dubbed (badly) by marginally more talented off-screen actors, an otherwise inexplicable artistic choice. Either way, the resulting effect is surely to stoke credulity in the minds of audience members already receptive to the stories found in state media.
Despite its poor rating, the film must be commended for its efforts to fit all the darkest political scandals of the past few years into two hours, each event inevitably portrayed as the work of Gülen, whatever its outcome.
One example is the mysterious helicopter crash in 2009 which killed Muhsin Yazıcıoglu, the head of the nationalist-Islamist Great Union Party. In the film, the crash is engineered by a Gülenist spy in revenge for Yazıcıoglu's refusal to fall in with Gülen's nefarious plans; the camera lingers several seconds too long on the bloodstained snow in the wake of the crash for maximum impact.
Another episode dramatizes the arrest warrant issued in 2012 for Hakan Fidan, Erdogan's much-trusted head of the Turkish intelligence service. This Gülenist plot was, apparently, foiled by Erdogan himself, who heroically sent his personal military guard to save Fidan in an armed standoff outside secret intelligence headquarters.