Sometimes I just can’t take it anymore. I mean this country, the news. Like the fuss that started here this week about a new state TV series, Ayrılık (seperation), that is pretty anti-Israel. It’s just another ‘dizi’ (series) and in this one Israeli soldiers shoot little Palestinian girls in the heart. The anti-Israeli stance in this country started getting stronger with the Israeli violence in Gaza last year, to which Prime Minister Erdogan reacted strongly. It was spiced up again this week not only with this dizi, but also with the refusal of Turkey to participate in a NATO exercise because Israel would also be taking part.
The whole matter made me very irritated yesterday. One Turkish minister said that in Turkey there is no censorship, so the authorities really couldn’t do anything about the dizi on Israeli soldiers. I don’t say they should do something about it, but saying that there is no censorship in Turkey is totally and utterly ridiculous. There is even a government body, RTUK, that can fine TV and radio stations for all sorts of things, and can even close them down for offences like profanity, insulting Atatürk, broadcasting scenes that are too erotic – just to name a few. Not to mention the dozens of journalists that are on trial for what they wrote, and newspapers and magazines that are closed because they were too critical.
The only thing that is not censored here is violence. Very violent TV series are broadcast on a daily basis, and not at times when children are sleeping but at just 3 o’clock in the afternoon, or even in the morning. RTUK has decided that all cigarettes on TV must be made unrecognisable by blurring, and they object to anything sexual that goes beyond kissing, but the blood, the gunshots, the beating up is all over the screen every day at every time of the day. And Turks just love it. I actually know a three year old that can’t count to ten without help but knows many characters of Kurtlar Vadisi, one of the most violent series, by heart – and his parents are so proud of him and applaud and hug him for it. And I’m sure whole families will be watching the dizi with the violent Israeli soldiers. It’s one of the things in this country that really gets on my nerves. Even as I write this, I can feel the anger about it in my stomach. Wake up, Turks, violence sucks!