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Turkish TV paints Kurds as villains

Turkish audiences watch TV series more regularly than they watch the news — and the habit seems to be making Turkey's divide worse.
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The scene is set in a dark room where two men argue. “The Chief” gives a tongue-lashing to the other: “Who are you to distribute all this money? Whose money is it anyway?” The other replies, “We are distributing our association’s funds to our suffering people.” The debate goes on, with words such as “leadership,” “revolution” and “bourgeoisie” repeated often. The jargon is clearly that of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and the “party leadership” is a reference to Abdullah Ocalan, its imprisoned leader.

The series in question, as most Turkish TV watchers would know, is “Valley of Wolves,” a very successful enterprise on both TV and cinema for most of the last 15 years. “Valley of Wolves,” produced by Turkey's Pana Film, has had several iterations on TV and four movies. Only the last one flopped last year. In most of the episodes, Kurds are portrayed as villains involved either in terrorism or trafficking. One of the characters in “Valley of Wolves: The Trap” is Muro, a poorly dressed PKK commander who spouts mindless propaganda in oddly accented Turkish and speaks dramatically of the suffering of “his people.” Muro, played by actor Mustafa Ustundag, is also involved in illegal trade.

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