“The recent controversy around a Turkish film dealing with incest reminded many of a similar brouhaha over another film on incest two years ago, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s warning to TV producers to keep incest away from screens
Red flags were raised amid media delirium last week when the head of the jury for a national film festival openly condemned a movie on moral grounds, allegedly threatening to ban the movie from entering the national competition.
The festival was the Golden Orange Film Festival, the biggest one in Turkey. The head of the jury was the ever-controversial Hülya Avşar, who had made headlines in the summer when a member of the jury resigned in protest over her selection, questioning her judgment and knowledge of film.
The film, which became the most talked-about film of the festival, was director Çağatay Tosun’s sophomore feature “Derin Düşün-ce” (a word play that could mean “Deep Thought” or “When Derin Falls,” referring to the little protagonist’s name). And the controversial subject matter was incest, a no-go area in Turkish cinema, television, literature and pop culture. […]
Incest is indeed a taboo that is ignored and remains invisible in the media, in cinema and on TV. And if there is a hint of incest, censorship comes in all forms and from all places. Sometimes it’s the audience, sometimes the head of the jury, and at other times, it’s the deputy prime minister.
Last spring, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç made a statement out of the blue in an attempt to put into action his conservative views on relationships (and probably the views of his fellow members of the pro-Islamic ruling Justice and Development Party – AKP) as depicted in dozens of TV series.
“Some of the marginal themes seen in recent TV series, such as relationships between people of the opposite sex and incest, have become cause for serious criticism, upsetting society. We have to take seriously the criticisms regarding these series. These themes have to be reassessed,” said Arınç, stealing headlines for a few days if not actually making much of an impact on the plots in the series.
It was not that difficult to trace the inappropriate relationships between the sexes he was referring to, as infidelity, marital rape and abusive relationships are not new to recent TV series in Turkey. But incest? The closest reference Arınç could have in mind was the series “Eve Düşen Yıldırım” (Lightning Strikes Home), which features two cousins falling in love; it’s not an unusual situation, and one that is definitely not found immoral in most parts of Turkey. The story, on the other hand, was not an original one written for TV. “Eve Düşen Yıldırım” was an adaptation of Turkish writer Nahid Sırrı Örik’s 1934 novel of the same name. In fact, it was not that uncommon to see cousins falling in love and marrying in the Turkish novels of the early 20th century, seen in such classics like Reşat Nuri Güntekin’s 1922 novel “Çalıkuşu” (The Wren) or “Aşk-ı Memnu” (Forbidden Love) by Halit Ziya Uşaklıgil, serialized in 1900. Of course, when the latter was adapted to TV to huge success in 2008.”
Source : Hürriyet Daily News