Row about Dutch ‘infidel’ in Turkish soap

ISTANBUL – Her beauty is dazzling, but she’s not particularly loved, Dutch Caroline in the Turkish soap opera ‘How time flies’. She is the forbidden love of a man from a middle class family and is referred to again and again as ‘gavur’, meaning infidel. A Turkish government commission has now warned the writers of the series about this ‘discrimination’, according to reports in several Turkish media on Saturday.

The Dutch woman, played by German actrice Wilma Elles, drives a wedge into her lover’s family and is nasty: she even sets a children’s day-care centre on fire. But even though she’s wicked, the term ‘infidel’, only used because she’s a foreigner, is stigmatizing and discriminating.
At least, that’s the opinion of the parliamentary commission for human rights. ‘The fact that she’s a foreigner should not be the focus of attention, but the fact that her behaviour is immoral’, says the commission’s president, Kücük.

The warning by the commission has also led to debate: independent human rights organisations have also criticized the soap opera, but say the government shouldn’t interfere, because that smells like censorship.

Meanwhile, the ‘Dutch’ woman has a growing fame in Turkey, and Caroline is becoming a well known foreign name.

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  1. […] character in a Turkish soap. In the series she is often referred to as ‘gavur’ – you can read the story here. Gavur is a general word to describe a ‘non-Muslim’, but in Turkey it’s much more than that. […]

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