In Turkish writer Kerem Isik’s dystopian book, “The Rated Carnival,” each young couple gets a live-in family counselor to make sure their marriage endures and produces offspring. The book of short stories, published in 2015, describes how life in Turkey in 2043 revolves around "the sacred family," with people assigned to neighborhoods based on their civil status. The best neighborhoods, with parks and green areas, schools and recreational centers, are allocated to families with several small children, while singles and the divorced live in gender-segregated suburbs where they are forced to join “state-supported matchmaking” efforts to ensure they do not remain single for more than three years. In one story, the state censorship office urges a writer to change the end of her story on rape so that the raped woman can marry her rapist and live happily ever after.
For Turkey's Justice and Development Party government, the book might well foreshadow the perfect society. Isik’s themes closely resemble the proposals of a parliamentary investigation commission on strengthening the family. The commission’s report, dubbed the "divorce report" by Turkish media, was literally booed on the streets when it was first presented last year. But the report returned to the parliamentary agenda earlier this month, signaling that the government would not back down from its plans to make marriage easier and divorce more difficult.