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Top Netflix drama lays open Turkish divides

The Turkish Netflix series Ethos has been both praised for bridging the divide between Turkey’s feuding segments and disparaged for enforcing them with cliches.

A tomography of New Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 18-year-old reign or a populist drama of one cliche after the other? A Turkish series on Netflix with the self-declared aim of healing the fault lines of Turkey has created still another division, this time between those who herald it as a masterpiece of hope and those who trash it as liberal intelligentsia’s self-flagellation.

Ever since its release in mid-November, “Ethos,” a drama written and directed by Berkun Oya, has caused heated debate in the Turkish media, in the columns of popular culture writers and the Twittersphere. There are not yet quizzes on “Which Ethos Character Are You — Islamophobic Peri, Seductive Sinan or Lesbian Hayrunnisa?” but they may well be on their way, judging from widely used memes of the main characters. Even Netflix circles indicate that they are surprised by the never-ending debate on the series that has been a hit in 18 countries, including Turkey.

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