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Turkish Television Dramas Breaking Taboos While Conveying Conservative Messages

A scene from the Turkish sop opera Ask-i Memnu ("Forbidden Love") as advertised on the show's website. (Photo courtesy www.askimennu.tv)

Homosexuality and sexual violence on prime time Turkish television: there is a lot of shocking stuff being broadcast in Turkey these days. And Turkish conservatives are horrified.

On September 16, about one-third of all Turkish television viewers tuned in to watch one of the country's most popular young actresses being gang-raped in the first episode of a new drama series. A couple of days later, a television channel bought recently by a businessman close to the former Islamist government televised the first ever Turkish-made soap opera to show two men in bed together, naked.

Such scenes have caused outrage among traditionalists belonging to all shades of the political spectrum.

"This isn't broadcasting, this is social engineering in immorality," columnist Nuh Gonultas thundered in the conservative daily Bugun on September 21.

A columnist for the radical Islamist daily Vakit, Arzu Erdogral was blunter: "Fatmagul's crime is that she is immoral", she wrote, referring to the victim of the gang rape.

To read the full story

Nicolas Birch specializes in Turkey, Iran and the Middle East.

Turkish Television Dramas Breaking Taboos While Conveying Conservative Messages

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