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Biopic about Turkey’s president screened at birthday gala

February 26, 2017
Supporters gather outside the residence of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to celebrate his birthday, in Istanbul, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. Turkey will hold a national referendum in April 16 on expanding Erdogan's powers. Critics say it would concentrate even more power in the hands of a leader they accuse of authoritarian behavior. The reforms would potentially allow Erdogan, 63, to remain in power until 2029. (Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Press Service, Pool Photo via AP)

ISTANBUL (AP) — The producers of a new movie about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have hosted a gala screening in Istanbul to celebrate the film and its subject.

The biopic, titled “Reis,” portrays Erdogan’s childhood growing up in Istanbul’s rough Kasimpasa neighborhood and his years as the city’s mayor between 1994 and 1998.

“Reis” means “the chief” in Turkish.

Production company Kafkasor Film Academy hosted the special screening on Sunday, Erdogan’s 63rd birthday, The movie, which was filmed in north Cyprus and Turkey, is scheduled to open in theaters on March 3.

The film is coming out just weeks before a contentious April 16 referendum on constitutional reforms to expand the president’s powers.

Critics say the changes would leave too few checks and balances on Erdogan’s authority.

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